Liberty Street Economics

February 28, 2024

Can Electric Cars Power China’s Growth?

Decorative image: photo of woman charging an electric car

China’s aggressive policies to develop its battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) industry have been successful in making the country the dominant producer of these vehicles worldwide. Going forward, BEVs will likely claim a growing share of global motor vehicle sales, helped along by subsides and mandates implemented in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, China’s success in selling BEVs may not contribute much to its GDP growth, owing both to the maturity of its motor vehicle sector and the strong tendency for countries to protect this high-profile industry.  

February 21, 2024

Businesses See Inflationary Pressures Moderating

Shortly after the recovery from the pandemic recession began, the U.S. economy entered a period of high inflation as surging demand, severe supply disruptions, and worker shortages combined to create large imbalances and inflationary pressures in the economy. More recently, however, inflationary pressures have been moderating. Indeed, the inflation rate as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) has come down from its recent peak of 9.1 percent in the summer of 2022 to 3.1 percent at the start of 2024. Have inflationary pressures also moderated for local businesses in the New York–Northern New Jersey region? The New York Fed’s February business surveys asked firms about increases in their costs and prices. Results indicate that the pace of increase in costs, wages, and prices have all slowed considerably over the past year. Moreover, firms in the region expect cost and price increases, as well as the overall inflation rate, to moderate further in the year ahead.

February 14, 2024

How and Why Do Consumers Use “Buy Now, Pay Later”?

Decorative illustration: two shopping bags (small and large). Text on Image Credit access and What's the role of BNPL?

In a previous post, we highlighted that financially fragile households are disproportionately likely to use “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) payment plans. In this post, we shed further light on BNPL’s place in its users’ household finances, with a particular focus on how use varies by a household’s level of financial fragility. Our results reveal substantially different use patterns, as more-fragile households tend to use the service to make frequent, relatively small, purchases that they might have trouble affording otherwise. In contrast, financially stable households tend to not use BNPL as frequently and are more likely to emphasize that BNPL allows them to avoid paying interest on credit-finance purchases. We explore below what drives these differences and consider the implications for future BNPL use.

Posted at 10:00 am in Credit, Household Finance | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 12, 2024

Measuring Treasury Market Depth

Decorative Image: image of 3 United States Savings Bonds.

A commonly used measure of market liquidity is market depth, which refers to the quantity of securities market participants are willing to buy or sell at particular prices. The market depth of U.S. Treasury securities, in particular, is assessed in many analyses of market functioning, including this Liberty Street Economics post on liquidity in 2023, this article on market functioning in March 2020, and this paper on liquidity after the Global Financial Crisis. In this post, we review the many measurement decisions that go into depth calculations and show that inferences about the evolution of Treasury market depth, and hence liquidity, are largely invariant with respect to these decisions. 

Posted at 7:00 am in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 7, 2024

Wealth Inequality by Age in the Post‑Pandemic Era

Editor’s note: Since this post was first published, percentages cited in the first paragraph have been corrected. (February 7, 1pm)

Decorative Illustration: 3 flowers one with person and bag with money symbol. Who's gaining more?

Following our post on racial and ethnic wealth gaps, here we turn to the distribution of wealth across age groups, focusing on how the picture has changed since the beginning of the pandemic. As of 2019, individuals under 40 years old held just 4.9 percent of total U.S. wealth despite comprising 37 percent of the adult population. Conversely, individuals over age 54 made up a similar share of the population and held 71.6 percent of total wealth. Since 2019, we find a slight narrowing of these wealth disparities across age groups, likely driven by expanded ownership of financial assets among younger Americans.

Racial and Ethnic Wealth Inequality in the Post‑Pandemic Era

Decorative illustration: 3 people on a pedestal. Whose net worth increased?

Wealth is unevenly distributed across racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In this first post in a two-part series on wealth inequality, we use the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFA) to document these disparities between Black, Hispanic, and white households from the first quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2023 for wealth and a variety of asset and liability categories. We find that these disparities have been exacerbated since the pandemic, likely due to rapid growth in the financial assets more often held by white individuals.

February 6, 2024

Auto Loan Delinquency Revs Up as Car Prices Stress Budgets

Decorative image: Woman receiving the keys to a car from a car dealership.

The New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data released the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the fourth quarter of 2023 this morning. Household debt balances grew by $212 billion over the last quarter. Although there was growth across most loan types, it was moderate compared to the fourth-quarter changes seen in the past few years. Mortgage balances grew by $112 billion and home equity line of credit (HELOC) balances saw an $11 billion bump as borrowers tapped home equity in lieu of refinancing first mortgages. Credit card balances, which typically see substantial increases in the fourth quarter coinciding with holiday spending, grew by $50 billion, and are now 14.5 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2022. Auto loan balances saw a $12 billion increase from the previous quarter, continuing the steady growth that has been in place since 2011. In this post, we revisit our analysis on credit cards and examine which groups are struggling with their auto loan payments. The Quarterly Report and this analysis are based on the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), a panel which is drawn from Equifax credit reports.

January 18, 2024

The Power of Proximity: How Working beside Colleagues Affects Training and Productivity

Firms remain divided about the value of the office for “office” workers. Some firms think that their employees are more productive when working from home. Others believe that the office is a key place for investing in workers’ skills. In this post, which is based on a recent working paper, we examine whether both sides could be right: Could working in the office facilitate investments in workers’ skills for tomorrow that diminish productivity today?

January 11, 2024

Towards Increasing Complexity: The Evolution of the FX Market

Editor’s note: Since this post was first published, the first paragraph under the “Looking Forward” subhead has been updated to clarify the expected increase in the speed of FX transaction settlements. (Jan. 25, 2:30 p.m.)

Decorative photo of a currency exchange board with prices listed.

The foreign exchange market has evolved extensively over time, undergoing important shifts in the types of market participants and the mix of instruments traded, within a trading ecosystem that has become increasingly complex. In this post, we discuss fundamental changes in this market over the past twenty-five years and highlight some of the implications for its future evolution. Our analysis suggests that maintaining a healthy price discovery process and fostering a level playing field among participants are areas to watch for challenges. The consequences of the evolution of the FX market—well beyond those anticipated twenty-five years ago—remain active areas of research and policy consideration.

January 10, 2024

An Overlooked Factor in Banks’ Lending to Minorities

Illustration: Economic Inequality - Credit Access: What affects lending disparities? gold background with ill of a bank building and four people of different races. arrows showing a circular motion between them.

In the second quarter of 2022, the homeownership rate for white households was 75 percent, compared to 45 percent for Black households and 48 percent for Hispanic households. One reason for these differences, virtually unchanged in the last few decades, is uneven access to credit. Studies have documented that minorities are more likely to be denied credit, pay higher rates, be charged higher fees, and face longer turnaround times compared to similar non-minority borrowers. In this post, which is based on a related Staff Report, we show that banks vary substantially in their lending to minorities, and we document an overlooked factor in this difference—the inequality aversion of banks’ stakeholders.

Posted at 7:00 am in Banks, Housing, Inequality | Permalink
About the Blog

Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.

Liberty Street Economics does not publish new posts during the blackout periods surrounding Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

Economic Research Tracker

Image of NYFED Economic Research Tracker Icon Liberty Street Economics is available on the iPhone® and iPad® and can be customized by economic research topic or economist.

Economic Inequality

image of inequality icons for the Economic Inequality: A Research Series

This ongoing Liberty Street Economics series analyzes disparities in economic and policy outcomes by race, gender, age, region, income, and other factors.

Most Read this Year

Comment Guidelines

 

We encourage your comments and queries on our posts and will publish them (below the post) subject to the following guidelines:

Please be brief: Comments are limited to 1,500 characters.

Please be aware: Comments submitted shortly before or during the FOMC blackout may not be published until after the blackout.

Please be relevant: Comments are moderated and will not appear until they have been reviewed to ensure that they are substantive and clearly related to the topic of the post.

Please be respectful: We reserve the right not to post any comment, and will not post comments that are abusive, harassing, obscene, or commercial in nature. No notice will be given regarding whether a submission will or will
not be posted.‎

Comments with links: Please do not include any links in your comment, even if you feel the links will contribute to the discussion. Comments with links will not be posted.

Send Us Feedback

Disclosure Policy

The LSE editors ask authors submitting a post to the blog to confirm that they have no conflicts of interest as defined by the American Economic Association in its Disclosure Policy. If an author has sources of financial support or other interests that could be perceived as influencing the research presented in the post, we disclose that fact in a statement prepared by the author and appended to the author information at the end of the post. If the author has no such interests to disclose, no statement is provided. Note, however, that we do indicate in all cases if a data vendor or other party has a right to review a post.

Archives