Brian Vanderplas Senior Research Associate
Brian Vanderplas is a Senior Research Associate at Beacon Economics. Mr. Vanderplas plays a leading role in many of the firm’s principal research projects with deep specialization in Economic, Fiscal, and Social Impact Analysis, Regional and Sub-Regional Analysis, EB-5 Economic Analysis, and Litigation Support and Expert Testimony. Within these practice areas, he focuses heavily on labor and employment, demographic, and real estate market analysis.
Mr. Vanderplas’s current and recent projects include assessing the economic impacts and contributions made by universities including the University of Southern California, UCLA, and California State University Long Beach. He has also played leading roles in high profile economic impact analyses for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic Committee, Delta Air Lines, the Electric Daisy Carnival, and Otis College of Art and Design. Applying his expertise in regional economics, he has produced economic and demographic assessments of each city council district in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and in Anaheim for the City of Anaheim. He leads Beacon’s monthly analysis of California’s employment numbers, a report widely used by statewide media, local governments, and private businesses.
Mr. Vanderplas is also responsible for building and maintaining a wide variety of complex databases that support the firm’s statewide and national economic forecasts, public policy studies, and other projects. In addition to preparing, cleaning, and seasonally adjusting data, he is deeply experienced in a wide array of economic and econometric software programs including STATA, EViews, and SPSS. Mr. Vanderplas’s academic focus includes transportation economics and international trade and development.
Prior to joining Beacon Economics, Mr. Vanderplas conducted graduate level research on the educational attainment level of migrant populations and on fuel consumption as it relates to population density.
No Nonsense Economics
The holidays have always been a time of higher-than-normal consumer spending. However, a drift downward in spending at this festive time of year has been occurring for years. This is likely a function of many things, the most important of which may be the decline in the number of children in the United States.
For all the sophistication of modern asset markets, at their core, they are still just Keynesian beauty contests. Keynes’s metaphor for the markets derived from a special type of beauty contest where the judges don’t pick who they think is most attractive, but who they think will be most attractive to all the other judges. His intuition is that traders are mainly trying to anticipate what the average trader thinks the average trader thinks is about to happen. Such nested logic can generate wild volatility in the market’s response to the silliest peices of news. This has been proven yet again in the waning days of 2023 with a big jump in equity and bond prices, all because of the odd notion that there has been a sharp pivot in Federal Reserve policy. The market now anticipates that the Fed will lower interest rates multiple times next year.