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14 posts from February 2014

February 28, 2014

Historical Echoes: Open a Kiddie Book and Read about Economic Principles, or Read it and Sleep

Amy Farber

Would it ever occur to anyone that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl, 1964) teaches economic lessons about “incentives, poverty, scarcity, producers, consumers, and competition”? Or that The Lorax (Dr. Seuss, 1971) covers “natural resources, choices, and scarcity”? Or that Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory (Margret and H. A. Rey, 1998) is an examination of “producers, capital resources, and goods”?

Continue reading "Historical Echoes: Open a Kiddie Book and Read about Economic Principles, or Read it and Sleep" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Historical Echoes | Permalink | Comments (2)

February 26, 2014

Factors that Affect Bank Stability

Thomas Eisenbach and Tanju Yorulmazer

In a previous Liberty Street Economics post, we introduced a framework for thinking about the risks banks face. In particular, we distinguished between asset return risk and funding risk that can interact and cause a bank to fail. In our framework, a bank can fail for two reasons:

Continue reading "Factors that Affect Bank Stability " »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Institutions, Liquidity | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 24, 2014

What Makes a Bank Stable? A Framework for Analysis

Thomas Eisenbach and Tanju Yorulmazer

One of the major roles of banks and other financial intermediaries is to channel funds from savings into valuable projects. In doing so, banks engage in “liquidity and maturity transformation,” since they finance long-term, illiquid projects while funding themselves with short-term, liquid liabilities. By performing this important role, banks expose themselves to the risk of runs: If depositors or other short-term creditors worry about their claims, they may withdraw funds en masse and cause the bank to fail. The recent financial crisis once again highlighted the fragility associated with financial intermediaries performing the roles of maturity and liquidity transformation. This post draws upon our paper “Stability of Funding Models: An Analytical Framework” to illustrate the determinants of a financial intermediary’s ability to survive stress events.

Continue reading "What Makes a Bank Stable? A Framework for Analysis" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Crisis, Financial Institutions, Financial Markets, Liquidity | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 21, 2014

Historical Echoes: Thomas Jefferson Slept Here on Maiden Lane/The Compromise of 1790

Mary Tao

In a prior blog post, we saw how Maiden Lane evolved over time. It was here that a momentous event occurred in 1790, changing the history of the United States.

     While serving as Secretary of State in 1790, Thomas Jefferson rented a “mean house” at 57 Maiden Lane "for 106 pounds per year" and “not approving much of the stiff style and etiquette of New York he gave up all his time to the establishment of his new department, foreign affairs, and home." There was much to occupy Jefferson’s time while he was in residence here—in particular, the debt crisis of 1790.

Continue reading "Historical Echoes: Thomas Jefferson Slept Here on Maiden Lane/The Compromise of 1790" »

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

February 20, 2014

Just Released: The Inflation Outlook in the Euro Zone . . . Survey Says

Robert Rich, Kaivan K. Sattar, and Joseph Tracy

The European Central Bank (ECB) released its 2014:Q1 Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) on February 13. The release comes at a time of growing concern about low Euro-zone inflation: consumer prices were up only 0.7 percent over the year in January, the fourth consecutive monthly reading of less than 1 percent and well below the ECB’s target of just below 2 percent. Some commentators have argued that falling inflation after five years of recession or very slow growth has raised the threat of deflation.

Continue reading "Just Released: The Inflation Outlook in the Euro Zone . . . Survey Says" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Euro Area, Forecasting, Inflation, International Economics, Macroecon | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 19, 2014

Why Is the Job-Finding Rate Still Low?

Victoria Gregory, Christina Patterson, Ayşegül Şahin, and Giorgio Topa

Fluctuations in unemployment are mostly driven by fluctuations in the job-finding prospects of unemployed workers—except at the onset of recessions, according to various research papers (see, for example, Shimer [2005, 2012] and Elsby, Hobijn, and Sahin [2010]). With job losses back to their pre-recession levels, the job-finding rate is arguably one of the most important indicators to watch. This rate—defined as the fraction of unemployed workers in a given month who find jobs in the consecutive month—provides a good measure of how easy it is to find jobs in the economy. The chart below presents the job-finding rate starting from 1990. Clearly, the job-finding rate is still substantially below its pre-recession levels, suggesting that it is still difficult for the unemployed to find work. In this post, we explore the underlying reasons behind the low job-finding rate.

Continue reading "Why Is the Job-Finding Rate Still Low?" »

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

February 18, 2014

Just Released: Does Transportation Spending Make Good Stimulus?

Andrew Haughwout, Therese McGuire, and Joseph Morris

On January 14, the Transportation Research Board, an arm of the National Research Council, released a new report, Transportation Investments in Response to Economic Downturns. The report is intended to provide guidance on three important and related policy questions:

  1. If the federal government undertakes a future stimulus program, should transportation spending be part of that package?
  2. If so, how should the transportation spending be structured and managed?
  3. Should established transportation programs be modified to make transportation spending more useful as economic stimulus?

Continue reading "Just Released: Does Transportation Spending Make Good Stimulus?" »

Posted by Blog Author at 3:00 PM in Macroecon | Permalink | Comments (1)

Just Released: Who’s Borrowing Now? The Young and the Riskless!

Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Wilbert van der Klaauw, and David Yun

According to today’s release of the New York Fed’s 2013:Q4 Household Debt and Credit Report, aggregate consumer debt increased by $241 billion in the fourth quarter, the largest quarter-to-quarter increase since 2007. More importantly, between 2012:Q4 and 2013:Q4, total household debt rose $180 billion, marking the first four-quarter increase in outstanding debt since 2008. As net household borrowing resumes, it is interesting to see who is driving these balance changes, and to compare some of today’s patterns with those of the boom period.

Continue reading "Just Released: Who’s Borrowing Now? The Young and the Riskless!" »

Posted by Blog Author at 11:15 AM in Household Finance, Housing | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 14, 2014

Puerto Rico Employment Trends–Not Quite as Bleak as They Appear

Jason Bram

Puerto Rico’s economy has been in a protracted economic slump since 2006. If there were officially designated recessions for the Commonwealth, it probably would have been in one for the better part of these past seven years. Real GNP had fallen 12 percent before finally leveling off in 2012. But the economic measure most widely relied upon to gauge the island’s economy—because the data are monthly and timely—is payroll employment. Between early 2006 and the first half of 2011, this measure fell by a similar amount (13 percent); it then started to recover gradually in late 2011 and into the first part of 2012. But late in the year it began to nosedive again, reaching new lows in mid-2013—Or did it? More complete tabulations of employment presage upward revisions to Puerto Rico’s payroll job count, suggesting that current employment (and thus economic) conditions are not as gloomy as they appear, based on currently reported data.

Continue reading "Puerto Rico Employment Trends–Not Quite as Bleak as They Appear" »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Employment, Labor Economics, Puerto Rico, Regional Analysis | Permalink | Comments (4)

February 12, 2014

The Long and Short of It: The Impact of Unemployment Duration on Compensation Growth

M. Henry Linder, Richard Peach, and Robert Rich

How tight is the labor market? The unemployment rate is down substantially from its October 2009 peak, but two-thirds of the decline is due to people dropping out of the labor force. In addition, an unusually large share of the unemployed has been out of work for twenty-seven weeks or more—the long-duration unemployed. These statistics suggest that there remains a great deal of slack in U.S. labor markets, which should be putting downward pressure on labor compensation. Instead, compensation growth has moved modestly higher since 2009. A potential explanation is that the long-duration unemployed exert less influence on wages than the short-duration unemployed, a hypothesis we examine here. While preliminary, our findings provide some support for this hypothesis and show that models taking into account unemployment duration produce more accurate forecasts of compensation growth.

Continue reading "The Long and Short of It: The Impact of Unemployment Duration on Compensation Growth " »

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Forecasting, Macroecon, Unemployment, Wages | Permalink | Comments (4)

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