Liberty Street Economics
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June 20, 2016

Risky Business: Government Mortgage Insurance Programs



Editors’ note: The column headings in the final table in this post have been corrected from an earlier version.

LSE_Risky Business: Government Mortgage Insurance Programs

Homeownership has long been a U.S. public policy goal. One of the many ways that the federal government subsidizes homeownership is through mortgage insurance programs operated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the USDA’s Rural Housing Service (RHS). These programs facilitate home financing opportunities for first-time and low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Virtually all of these government-insured mortgages are securitized by Ginnie Mae, a government agency that guarantees the timely payment of principal and interest of these loans to investors that purchase the securities. That is, the U.S. taxpayers assume the credit risk on these mortgages. In this post, we assess the riskiness of these loans.

June 06, 2016

Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?



LSE_Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?

What is the purpose of health care? What is the purpose of health insurance? When people fall ill, they seek health care in order to get better. But insurance has a slightly different function: Its main role is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances. For most people, lifetime health expenditures are quite low. However, some people have enormous health costs owing to major illnesses or health conditions. And this is where health insurance comes in—its goal (like that of any other form of insurance) is to protect these individuals against large, and sometimes ruinous, health expenditures. Has the recent health reform served this purpose?

Posted by Blog Author at 10:00 AM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

Just Released: Mapping the Differences in School Spending in New York City



LSE_Just Released: Mapping the Differences in School Spending in New York City

This morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a set of interactive visuals that present data on school spending and its various components—such as instructional spending, instructional support, leadership support, and building services spending—across all thirty-two community school districts (CSD) in New York City and map their progression over time. A key feature of these interactive visuals is that they present the data in two forms: as adjusted data, which control for student categories that receive differential funding from the City based on their needs, and as raw data that do not include this adjustment. The interactive features allow the user to easily view (and compare) the adjusted and raw data, to observe trends for different spending categories, and to compare spending profiles across community school districts for each form of data. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of each CSD can be viewed by clicking on the district of interest. Our purpose is to make data on education finance and education indicators more accessible to a broader audience, including education researchers.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Education , Regional Analysis | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

June 03, 2016

At the N.Y. Fed: The Transatlantic Economy: Convergence or Divergence?



LSE_At the N.Y. Fed: The Transatlantic Economy: Convergence or Divergence?

On April 18, 2016, the New York Fed hosted a conference on current and future policy directions for the linked economies of Europe and the United States. "The Transatlantic Economy: Convergence or Divergence?"—organized jointly with the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the European Commission—brought together U.S. and Europe-based policymakers, regulators, and academics to discuss a series of important issues: Are the economies of the euro area and the United States on a convergent or divergent path? Are financial regulatory reforms making the banking and financial structures more similar? Will this imply a convergence in macroprudential policies? Which instruments do the United States and the euro area have at their disposal to raise investment, spur productivity, and avoid secular stagnation? In this post, we summarize the principal themes and findings of the conference discussion.

June 02, 2016

Just Released: 2016 SCE Housing Survey Shows Modest Decline in Home Price Expectations



LSE_2016 SCE Housing Survey Shows Modest Decline in Home Price Expectations

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2016 SCE Housing Survey indicates that home price growth expectations have declined somewhat relative to last year, but the majority of households still view housing as a good financial investment. Mortgage rate expectations have also declined since last year’s survey, and renters now perceive that it has become somewhat less difficult to get a mortgage if they wanted to buy a home.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:00 AM in Housing | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

June 01, 2016

Revisiting the Case for International Policy Coordination

Sushant Acharya, Ozge Akinci, Julien Bengui, and Bianca De Paoli

LSE_Revisiting the Case for International Policy Coordination

Prompted by the U.S. financial crisis and subsequent global recession, policymakers in advanced economies slashed interest rates dramatically, hitting the zero lower bound (ZLB), and then implemented unconventional policies such as large-scale asset purchases. In emerging economies, however, the policy response was more subdued since they were less affected by the financial crisis. As a result, capital flows from advanced to emerging economies increased markedly in response to widening interest rate differentials. Some emerging economies reacted by adopting measures to slow down capital inflows, acting under the presumption that these flows were harmful. This type of policy response has reignited the debate over how to moderate international spillovers.

May 25, 2016

The Macro Effects of the Recent Swing in Financial Conditions



Credit conditions tightened considerably in the second half of 2015 and U.S. growth slowed. We estimate the extent to which tighter credit conditions last year were responsible for the slowdown using the FRBNY DSGE model. We find that growth would have slowed substantially more had the Federal Reserve not delayed liftoff in the federal funds rate.

May 24, 2016

Just Released: Hints of Increased Hardship in America’s Oil-Producing Counties



LSE_Just Released: Hints of Increased Hardship in America’s Oil-Producing Counties

Today, the New York Fed released the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the first quarter of 2016. Overall debt saw one of its larger increases since deleveraging ended, while delinquency rates for the United States continued to improve and remain at very low levels. Although the overall picture of Americans’ liabilities has continued to improve since the financial crisis, we wondered what the variation looks like at local levels. One advantage of our Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which is based on Equifax credit data, is that we can examine geographic variation in debt and delinquency rates. Here, we use the CCP to examine the borrowing and delinquency in oil-producing geographies in the United States, where the economic trends since the Great Recession have been very different from those in the rest of the country.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:05 AM in Household Finance , Housing | Permalink | Comments ( 5 )

May 23, 2016

The FRBNY DSGE Model Forecast—May 2016



The May 2016 forecast of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s (FRBNY) dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model remains broadly in line with those of our two previous semiannual reports (see our May 2015 and December 2015 posts). In the past year, the headwinds that contributed to slower growth in the aftermath of the financial crisis finally began to abate. However, the widening of credit spreads associated with swings in financial markets in the second half of 2015 and the first few months of this year have had a negative impact on economic activity. Despite this setback, the model expects a rebound in growth in the second half of the year, so that the medium-term forecast remains, as in the December post, one of steady, gradual economic expansion. The model also continues to predict gradual progress in the inflation rate toward the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) long-run target of 2 percent.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Macroecon , Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

May 20, 2016

Historical Echoes: When Fed Chairs Expound on Life



LSE_janet-yellen-at-NYU-commencement

J.K. Rowling, David Byrne, Eric Idle—In recent years, these captivating figures have delivered commencement addresses at Harvard, Columbia University and Whitman College, respectively. Of course, Federal Reserve chairs give commencement speeches too, and good ones. NPR maintains a list of some standouts, “The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever” (this is a cool interactive website that enables you to search by name, school, year, or by theme—play, inner voice, embrace failure, change the world, make art, etc.). Its roundup of graduation season remarks includes Janet Yellen’s 2014 speech at New York University, and Ben Bernanke’s 2013 speech at Princeton. Another list, “Best Commencement Speeches Of All Time,” includes Alan Greenspan’s 1999 commencement speech at Harvard.

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

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