Liberty Street Economics
August 22, 2016

How Do People Revise Their Inflation Expectations?



LSE_How Do People Revise Their Inflation Expectations?

The New York Fed started releasing results from its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) three years ago, in June 2013. The SCE is a monthly, nationally representative, internet-based survey of a rotating panel of about 1,300 household heads. Its goal, as described in a series of Liberty Street Economics posts, is to collect timely and high-quality information on consumer expectations about a broad range of topics, covering both macroeconomic variables and the households' own situation. In this post, we look at what drives changes in consumer inflation expectations. Do people respond to changes in recent realized inflation, and to expected and realized changes in prices of salient individual commodities—like gasoline? Understanding what drives inflation expectations is important for the conduct of monetary policy, since it improves a central bank’s ability to assess its own credibility and to evaluate the impact of its policy decisions and communication strategy.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

August 19, 2016

Historical Echoes: That’s Where the Celebrity Advertising Was, or the Gentleman Bank Robber



LSE_http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2016/08/historical-echoes-thats-where-the-celebrity-advertising-was-or-the-gentleman-bank-robber.html

In 1970, New Britain Bank and Trust (inactive as of 1984) ran a television advertisement that starred a real-life bank robber touting a safety feature of its new “face card.” (A History Channel video includes interesting preliminaries about how the journalists obtained the ad; the ad itself starts at 5:44.) Why would this bank be willing to create such an ad? Of course, neither this bank, nor any other bank, nor any Federal Reserve Bank would condone the act of robbing a bank. But this particular thief, the notorious Willie Sutton (1901-80), was different from typical bank robbers. Let’s consider why:

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Historical Echoes , Macroecon | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

August 18, 2016

Just Released: Job Growth in the Region



LSE_Just Released: Job Growth in the Region


At today’s economic press briefing, we provided an update on regional economic conditions, with a particular focus on job growth in the region, and highlighted an important emerging labor market trend: the return of middle-wage jobs.

August 17, 2016

A Closer Look at the Federal Reserve's Securities Lending Program



LSE_A Closer Look at the Federal Reserve's Securities Lending Program

The Federal Reserve lends specific Treasury and agency debt securities held in its System Open Market Account (SOMA)—and accepts general Treasury securities as collateral—through its daily securities lending program. The program supports Treasury and agency debt market function by providing a secondary and temporary source of securities to the broader market through the Fed’s trading counterparties, the primary dealers. Importantly, the size and composition of the SOMA portfolio reflect past monetary policy decisions, limiting the program's ability to help alleviate all collateral shortages. In this post, we provide a brief history of the Fed’s securities lending program and describe recent trends in activity and what is driving them.
Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

August 16, 2016

Just Released: Firms Assess the Effects of the Affordable Care Act



The Federal Reserve Bank of New York this morning released the results of its August 2016 business surveys, including the supplemental survey report on health coverage costs and the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on firms in the region. Health care costs increased 8.5 percent this year and are expected to rise by 10 percent in 2017, based on the median responses of surveyed businesses. Among the more widely mentioned factors that firms said were contributing to higher costs were increased premiums from insurance providers, higher costs for prescription drugs, the ACA, and an aging workforce.

Posted by Blog Author at 8:35 AM in Regional Analysis | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

August 15, 2016

What Drives Forecaster Disagreement about Monetary Policy?



LSE_What Drives Forecaster Disagreement about Monetary Policy?

What can disagreement teach us about how private forecasters perceive the conduct of monetary policy? In a previous post, we showed that private forecasters disagree about both the short-term and the long-term evolution of key macroeconomic variables but that the shape of this disagreement differs across variables. In contrast to their views on other macroeconomic variables, private forecasters disagree substantially about the level of the federal funds rate that will prevail in the medium to long term but very little on the rate at shorter horizons. In this post, we explore the possible explanations for what drives forecasts of the federal funds rate, especially in the longer run.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Macroecon , Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

August 12, 2016

Puerto Rico’s Evolving Household Debts



LSE_Puerto Rico’s Evolving Household Debts

Debt and its performance play a critical role in economic development. The enormous increase in mortgage debt that took place during the run-up to the 2007 financial crisis and the contribution of that debt to the crisis underscore the importance of household debt to financial stability and economic growth. While we regularly report on household debt at the national level and for selected states in our Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, we have not reported separately on Puerto Rico. This post introduces metrics on household debt in Puerto Rico, which we plan to update regularly. Like our other reports on household debt, this analysis uses our FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on anonymized credit data from Equifax. We also take a look at some data for Puerto Rico’s banking sector to complete the picture of household debt for the Commonwealth.

August 11, 2016

Human Capital and Education in Puerto Rico



LSE_Human Capital and Education in Puerto Rico

Educational attainment is an important element of human capital; however a series of recent papers highlights the crucial role of the quality of education—which determines the skills actually learned, rather than the number of years spent in a classroom—as a main driver of growth. In fact, Hanushek and Woessmann argue that the importance of more appropriately measuring skills is seen in the very tight relationship between quality of skills, or knowledge capital, and growth. Moreover, the researchers state, “The knowledge capital–growth relationship suggests little mystery for East Asia, Latin America, or other regions: Growth rates are accounted for by cognitive skills.” Similarly, “Considering knowledge capital dramatically increases our ability to account for differences in growth.”

August 10, 2016

Puerto Rico’s Shrinking Labor Force Participation



LSE_Puerto Rico’s Shrinking Labor Force Participation

A key concern about Puerto Rico’s prospects is that its labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the adult population either working or looking for work, has fallen sharply. Looking at the data shows that this decline cannot be attributed to any particular demographic segment. Instead, it is the consequence of an aging population, accelerated by a falling birth rate and outmigration of a relatively young cohort. Expected demographic trends will continue to put downward pressure on the participation rate over the medium term, creating a challenging headwind for the economy to overcome.

August 09, 2016

Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing



LSE_2016_Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the second quarter of 2016. It showed that overall household debt increased modestly over the period, with subdued mortgage originations and moderate but continued increases in non-housing related credit—particularly auto loans and credit cards. The total outstanding credit card balance now stands at $729 billion, up $17 billion from the first quarter, but still well below the peak of $866 billion reached in the fourth quarter of 2008. Credit card delinquency rates have continued to improve since peaking in 2008. We have previously “looked under the hood” of auto loans, and in this post, we present analysis that provides new insight into credit card debt by examining trends in credit card issuance and usage. The Quarterly Report and the following analyses are based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, which is a nationally representative sample drawn from Equifax credit reports.

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