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About ECOnorthwest

Analysis for Action

We stand at a unique vantage point. Born in the northwest, our firm grew up during painful economic transitions. Through that journey, we learned that broadly shared progress requires thinking across disciplines and listening to diverse, and often conflicting, voices.

Policymakers and business leaders trust ECOnorthwest to inform the complex issues that shape communities today. We craft our research through an independent and interdisciplinary approach that integrates economics with other fields of insight. Delivered with clarity, our guidance creates the path to better human outcomes.

50 years of policy insights

Across states, across disciplines


total projects throughout 45 states




staff with advanced degrees


employees play an instrument, 16 different instruments played


decades as a firm, founded in 1974


languages spoken


board or committee commitments


total employees since our founding


dogs, cats, and other pets

Northwest roots. National reach.

Featured projects spanning regions throughout the US

Founded in the northwest, we grew up during the region’s transition from a resource to a knowledge economy. Innovation has been an imperative and change a constant. As our region and society have evolved, so have we. 50 years later, we’re still just as independent and curious, asking questions from many perspectives to find insights that create impact. And as our perspectives broaden, so does our geographic range. We bring our insight to the nation using what we’ve learned locally to create impact on a larger scale.

Insight across disciplines

We work at the intersection of neighborhoods and highways. Of development and conservation. Of poverty and prosperity.

The choices we make at these intersections matter. To help guide your decisions, we’ve built a team of experts in economics, urban planning, public policy, finance, demography, geography, and sociology.

Rooted in economics, our interdisciplinary expertise lights the way to a broader understanding of how policy choices affect peoples’ lives.

Practice Area


Our experienced expert witnesses, economists, and economic analysts provide rigorous economic analyses and clear, concise written and oral testimony. We help attorneys assess economic liability; calculate the present value of damages, harm, or impacts due to alleged acts; conduct market analysis; and manage and analyze data. Our experts have provided support for representatives of both plaintiffs and defendants, producing impartial and rigorous assessments of claims for economic losses.


Our commitment to equity

The challenges of issues like climate change, economic resilience, and community development are all intertwined, and can’t be addressed until we recognize and make efforts to overcome the persistent inequities in access to power and resources that have played a role in creating them. To be responsible, rigorous, and trustworthy, public policy research must consider equity.

We embrace equity as both an outcome that we aspire to and a process to which we commit attention and deliberate action over time. Our Research Equity Framework guides our deliberate efforts to promote equity in policy and analysis as a process, shaping the questions we ask, how we interpret results, and how we make policy recommendations.

Statement of Research Integrity


Key to our firm’s 50-year history has been our reputation for rigorous policy research. ECOnorthwest has completed thousands of studies for public and private-sector clients, as well as for plaintiffs and defendants in litigation matters. The studies have been conducted by staff who were vetted for their research skills but not for their ideological views. The firm values intellectual curiosity and constructive disagreement. 

We leverage a diverse set of quantitative and qualitative tools to illuminate trade offs and inform complex decisions. These include data and spatial analysis software, online survey platforms, coding language and management tools, and more. We take seriously our responsibility to understand and consider how our choices during the analysis and interpretation process affect our findings and the policies and programs we evaluate. Our research equity framework and qualitative research expertise help us in this goal. We are also integrating AI tools as research aids, with a keen awareness of their associated limitations and risks. To use these tools ethically and effectively, we’ve established and committed to periodically update internal QA/QC processes that ensure accountability, fairness, reliability, and privacy in our use of data and research tools. 

ECOnorthwest is defined as much by the projects we have turned down as those we have completed. Our clients respect our research independence and hire us because they seek thorough, well-researched deliverables. We avoid clients that design narrow questions to mislead decision-making processes. We do not associate with strident advocates with predetermined answers to their questions. And we turn away clients known to promote false claims or suppress facts, or that otherwise do not align with our firm’s values

We are serious about research transparency. We detail our research questions and methods, explain our analytic steps and their limitations, cite data sources, protect confidentiality, and make our assumptions explicit. We explain the rationale for our conclusions. Our clients pay for this work and expect to collaborate on designing a scope of work and reviewing draft work products. While clients come to us with questions, they do not direct our answers.

A Trusted Thought Partner

ECOnorthwest has worked with a diverse range of public, private, non-profit, and foundation clients in the United States and around the world to craft effective and feasible solutions.

Our ability to respond to our clients’ needs quickly and comprehensively is the foundation of our business model. ECOnorthwest often teams with other firms to solve complex problems. We appreciate the opportunity to be an integrated thought partner with professionals who have skills or local contexts that we don’t. We constantly seek new ways to do our work better.

Selected Partners

Half a century of insight through impact

Our founder, Ed Whitelaw, was a visionary. He saw the implications of information gaps on a region’s economic future. With the right input, better public policy decisions could be made.

See how our expansion into interdisciplinary research, rooted in economics, has created paths to better human outcomes for over 50 years.