The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
In its January 1953 issue “The American and His Economy,” Life magazine presents a sidebar entitled “How Future Looks to Five Economists,” in which Paul Samuelson, John Kenneth Galbraith, and other eminent economists discuss the national outlook, given the impending defense cutbacks. Samuelson states, “Congress and the new administration have the power to alleviate any recession that might be brought on by reduced defense and investment expenditures.” The others are also optimistic, citing additional offsetting factors. What’s missing? Except for one oblique reference to “credit easing,” no one mentions the Fed or monetary policy—even though economists knew then that expansionary monetary policy (that is, lowering interest rates) can help offset contractionary fiscal policy (such as government spending cuts).
Olivier Armantier, Giorgio Topa, Wilbert Van Der Klaauw, and Basit Zafar
Surveys of consumers’ inflation expectations are now a key component of monetary policy. To date, however, little work has been done on 1) whether individual consumers act on their beliefs about future inflation, and 2) whether the inflation expectations elicited by these surveys are actually informative about the respondents’ beliefs. In this post, we report on a new study by Armantier, Bruine de Bruin, Topa, van der Klaauw, and Zafar (2010) that investigates these two issues by comparing consumers’ survey-based inflation expectations with their behavior in a financially incentivized experiment. We find that the decisions of survey respondents are generally consistent with their stated inflation beliefs.
Christian Grisse, Thomas Klitgaard, and Ayşegül Şahin
The employment-to-population ratio—the share of adults that are employed—has historically been much higher in the United States than in Europe. However, the gap narrowed dramatically in the last decade and had almost disappeared by the end of 2009. In this post, we show that the narrowing employment gap is due to three factors: declining U.S. employment rates across almost all age-gender groups; more women working in Europe, particularly prime-age and older workers; and rising employment for older European men. We link most of these shifts to the influence of underlying trends (many reflecting changes in European social policies) and to differences in labor market performance during the Great Recession.
The “South Sea Bubble” in Britain, 1720, followed the typical pattern of a period of speculation, “irrational exuberance,” and the subsequent collapse of a major company or industry. A speculative frenzy fueled by corporate deceit, investor hysteria, and other market forces caused the South Sea Company’s share price to skyrocket from £128 in January to a whopping £1,050 in June. By September, the price plummeted to £175.
On July 6, 2011, the Task Force on Tri-Party Repo Infrastructure—an industry group sponsored by the New York Fed—released a Progress Report in which it reaffirmed the goal of eliminating the wholesale “unwind” of repos (and the requisite extension of more than a trillion dollars of intraday credit by repo clearing banks), but acknowledged unspecified delays in achieving that goal. The “unwind” is the settlement of repos that currently takes place each morning and replaces credit from investors with credit from the clearing banks. As I explain in this post, by postponing settlement until the afternoon and thereby linking the settlement of new and maturing repos, the proposed new settlement approach could help stabilize the tri-party repo market by eliminating the incentive for investors to withdraw funds from a dealer simply because they believe other investors will do the same. In effect, eliminating the unwind can reduce the risk of the equivalent of bank runs in the repo market, or “repo runs.”
Since the 1930s, the conventional wisdom among economists has held that producer prices are more rigid than consumer prices. The roots of this view lie in the 1930s-era “administered price” thesis, which states that large firms set their prices more rigidly than do small firms. In this post, we report that this old “fact” is not true. We instead find that the prices set by large firms are much more flexible than those set by small firms. A key implication of this finding is that policymakers concerned about inflation or deflation should pay particular attention to changes in large firms’ prices.
The July Empire State Manufacturing Survey, published today, indicates that manufacturing conditions continued to weaken in New York State. The survey’s headline index was -3.8, the second negative reading in a row, and suggested that, overall, manufacturing activity declined slightly in New York. Because the survey is a diffusion index, readings below zero indicate that more respondents reported worsening conditions than improving conditions. Lower (or higher) values of the index indicate more widespread decline (or improvement). The Empire State Manufacturing Survey is the first available indicator of manufacturing activity for the month. While it is entirely possible that what we are seeing is idiosyncratic to New York State, July’s report raises questions about whether the manufacturing sector is experiencing a temporary bump in the road, or is headed toward a more sustained slowdown. In this post, we review some of the highlights of today’s report.
The United States buys much more from China than it sells to China—an imbalance that accounts for almost half of our overall merchandise trade deficit. China’s policy of keeping its exchange rate low is often cited as a key driver of that country’s large overall trade surplus and of its bilateral surplus with the United States. The argument is that a stronger renminbi (the official currency of China) would help reduce that country’s trade imbalance with the United States by lowering the prices of U.S. goods relative to those made in China. In this post, we examine the thinking behind this view. We find that a stronger renminbi would have a relatively small near-term impact on the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with China and an even more modest impact on the overall U.S. deficit.
As financial markets have become increasingly globalized, banks have developed growing networks of branches and subsidiaries in foreign countries. This expansion of banking across borders is changing the way banks manage their balance sheets, and the ways home markets and foreign markets respond to disturbances to financial markets. Based on our recent research, this post shows how global banks used their foreign affiliates for accessing scarce dollars during the financial crisis—a liquidity strategy that helped transmit shocks internationally while reducing some of the consequences in the stressed locations.
“Lamar Pioneers in Space, the New Frontier” is the headline of an advertisement that appeared in the April 1985 issue of Texas Monthly magazine. The ad indicates that Texas-chartered savings and loan “Lamar Savings now is making plans for a full service branch on the moon.”
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
Liberty Street Economics is now available on the iPhone® and iPad® and can be customized by economic research topic or economist.
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 1500 characters.
Please be quick: Comments submitted after COB on Friday will not be published until Monday morning.
Please be aware: Comments submitted shortly before or during the FOMC blackout may not be published until after the blackout.
Please be on-topic and patient: 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. 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.
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.