Liberty Street Economics
September 18, 2014

At the N.Y. Fed: Workshop on the Risks of Wholesale Funding

Risk of Wholesale Funding Conference The Federal Reserve Banks of Boston and New York recently cosponsored a workshop on the risks of wholesale funding. Wholesale funding refers to firm financing via deposits and other liabilities from pension funds, money market mutual funds, and other financial intermediaries. Compared with stable retail funding, the supply of wholesale funding is volatile, especially during financial crises. For instance, when a firm relies on short-term wholesale funds to support long-term illiquid assets, it becomes vulnerable to runs by its wholesale creditors, as seen during the recent financial crisis. The workshop was organized to promote a better understanding of the risks posed by wholesale funding and to explore policy options for minimizing these risks.

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

September 08, 2014

Why Aren’t More Renters Becoming Homeowners?

Recent activity in the U.S. housing market has been widely perceived as disappointing. For instance, sales of both new and existing homes were about 5 percent lower over the first half of 2014 than over the first half of 2013. From a longer-term perspective, a striking statistic is that the homeownership rate in the United States has fallen from 69 percent in 2005 to 65 percent in the first quarter of 2014. This decrease in homeownership is particularly pronounced for younger households, implying that many of them are remaining renters for longer than in the past. In this post, we use survey evidence to shed some light on what is driving this sluggish transition from renting to homeownership.

Posted by Blog Author at 2:00 PM in Household Finance , Housing | Permalink | Comments ( 6 )

Introducing the SCE Housing Survey

Basit Zafar, Andreas Fuster, Wilbert van der Klaauw, and Matthew Cocci

In February 2014, we administered a survey on housing-related issues to the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) panelists. Our primary goal was to secure rich and high-quality information on consumers’ experiences and expectations regarding housing. The survey, among other things, collected data on households’ perceptions and expectations of the growth in home prices, their intentions regarding moving or buying a new home, and their access to credit. In addition, for homeowners, we collected detailed information on their mortgage debt, past experiences such as foreclosure or refinancing, and expectations regarding future actions, such as taking out new debt or investing in the home. We are releasing the findings as a chart packet today, and in this post summarize some findings.

Posted by Blog Author at 12:00 PM in Household Finance | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

September 05, 2014

Crisis Chronicles: The British Export Bubble of 1810 and Pegged versus Floating Exchange Rates

James Narron, David Skeie, and Don Morgan

In the early 1800s, Napoleon’s plan to defeat Britain was to destroy its ability to trade. The plan, however, was initially foiled. After Britain helped the Portuguese government flee Napoleon in 1807, the Portuguese returned the favor by opening Brazil to British exports—a move that caused trade to boom. In addition, Britain was able to circumvent Napoleon’s continental blockade by means of a North Sea route through the Baltics, which provided continental Europe with a conduit for commodities from the Americas. But when Britain’s trade via the North Sea was interrupted in 1810, the boom ended in crisis. In this edition of Crisis Chronicles, we explore the British Export Bubble of 1810 and ask whether pegged or floating exchange rates are better for an economy.

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

September 04, 2014

Are the Job Prospects of Recent College Graduates Improving?

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

This post is the fourth in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value
of a college degree

The promise of finding a good job upon graduation has always been an important consideration when weighing the value of a college degree. In our final post of this week’s blog series, we take a look at the job prospects of recent college graduates. While unemployment among recent graduates has continued to fall since 2011, underemployment has continued to climb—meaning that fewer graduates are finding jobs that make use of their degrees. Do these trends mean that there has been a decline in the demand for those with college degrees? Using data on online job postings, we show that after falling sharply during the Great Recession, the demand for college graduates rebounded during the early stages of the recovery, but has been flat for the past year and a half, suggesting that the demand for college graduates has leveled off. All in all, while finding a job has become easier for recent college graduates over the past few years, finding a good job has not, and doing so is likely to remain a challenge for some time to come.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:05 AM in Labor Economics | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

College May Not Pay Off for Everyone

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

This post is the third in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value
of a college degree

In our recent Current Issues article and blog post on the value of a college degree, we showed that the economic benefits of a bachelor’s degree still far outweigh the costs. However, this does not mean that college is a good investment for everyone. Our work, like the work of many others who come to a similar conclusion, is based in large part on the empirical observation that the average wages of college graduates are significantly higher than the average wages of those with only a high school diploma. However, not all college students come from Lake Wobegon, where “all of the children are above average.” In this post, we show that a good number of college graduates earn wages that are not materially different from those of the typical worker with just a high school diploma. This suggests that, at least from an economic perspective, college may not pay off for a significant number of people.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Labor Economics | Permalink | Comments ( 4 )

September 03, 2014

Staying in College Longer Than Four Years Costs More Than You Might Think

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

This post is the second in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value
of a college degree

In yesterday’s blog post and in our recent article in the New York Fed’s Current Issues series, we showed that the economic benefits of a bachelor’s degree still outweigh the costs, on average, even in today’s difficult labor market. Like others who assess the value of a bachelor’s degree, we base our estimates on the assumption that a student takes four years to finish the degree. But it is not uncommon for people to take longer than that. In fact, recent data indicate that among those who complete a bachelor’s degree within six years, only about two-thirds finish in four years or less. What does it cost to stay in college for a fifth or sixth year before finishing that degree? Perhaps more than you might think.

Posted by Blog Author at 12:00 PM in Labor Economics | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

Just Released: N.Y. Fed’s Emanuel Moench to Become Head of Research at the Deutsche Bundesbank

No one can accuse the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of not being a big supporter of central bank cooperation. Furthering that theme, I’m pleased to report that Emanuel Moench will join the staff of the Bundesbank after having launched his career here at the New York Fed. In February 2015, Emanuel will take on a new role as Head of Research at the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Posted by Blog Author at 9:00 AM in Labor Economics | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

September 02, 2014

From Our Archive: Reading Labor Market Slack

Anna Snider

In her speech “Labor Market Dynamics and Monetary Policy” at the Kansas City Fed’s recent Jackson Hole symposium, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen discussed economic puzzles challenging policymakers, including topics we’ve addressed on Liberty Street Economics. A central and much-debated question is: how tight is the current labor market? The unemployment rate is one key measure. But in February, a team of our bloggers proposed a finer tool to measure slack—one that distinguishes the effects of long- and short-duration unemployment on wage inflation.

Posted by Blog Author at 2:00 PM in Labor Economics | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

The Value of a College Degree

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

This post is the first in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value
of a college degree

Not so long ago, people rarely questioned the value of a college degree. A bachelor’s degree was seen as a surefire ticket to a career-oriented, good-paying job. Today, however, many people are uncertain whether going to college is such a wise decision. It’s easy to see why. Tuition costs have been rising considerably faster than inflation, student debt is mounting, wages for college graduates have been falling, and recent college graduates have been struggling to find good jobs. These trends might lead one to believe that college is no longer a good investment. But when you dig into the data, is this really true? This week, we examine the value of a college degree in a four-part blog series. In this first post, we do the basic math and show that despite what appears to be a set of alarming trends, the value of a bachelor’s degree for the average graduate has held near its all-time high of about $300,000 for more than a decade.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Labor Economics | Permalink | Comments ( 9 )

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