Beyond the Macroeconomy
The Federal Reserve’s statutory mission from Congress is to achieve maximum employment and price stability for the country as a whole. In line with this dual mandate, economists at the New York Fed monitor conditions in the “aggregate” economy on a day-to-day basis. But in addition, they have been doing a substantial amount of work to understand the differences in economic experiences across individuals, households, and regions. This blog series will examine our economists’ findings on how labor, housing, and health outcomes vary for different groups. A brief summary of the posts in the series follows:
- Understanding Earnings Dispersion (Fatih Karahan) discusses how and why earnings are dispersed across individuals over their lifetime. The author finds substantial heterogeneity in earnings trajectories across workers owing to such factors as differences in unemployment risk. Consequently, earnings dispersion increases dramatically as people age.
- Exploring Differences in Unemployment Risk (Benjamin Pugsley, Rachel Schuh, and Ayşegül Şahin) documents the heterogeneity in unemployment outcomes across gender, age, race, and educational attainment. The groups that are subject to higher unemployment risk typically earn less.
- Difference in Rent Inflation by Cost of Housing (Jonathan McCarthy and Richard Peach) considers the dispersion in the rental market. The authors show that the type of housing units typically occupied by low-income households saw higher-than-average rent inflation in the 2009-11 period.
- Trends in Debt Concentration by Income Group (Donghoon Lee, Matt Mazewski, Joelle Scally, and Basit Zafar) examines access to the mortgage markets and finds that newly originated mortgage volume has become more concentrated in the high-income zip codes after peaking in 2007.
- How Did Quantitative Easing Interact with Regional Inequality? (Andreas Fuster) studies the effects of the first round of large-scale asset purchases (colloquially known as “QE1”) across regions. It concludes that the increase in refinancing activity after the policy was announced was weaker in those areas of the country that had suffered the biggest home price declines.
- Health Inequality (Giacomo De Giorgi and Maxim Pinkovskiy) looks at differences in health outcomes. The authors demonstrate that while average life expectancy in the United States increased from seventy-five years in 1989 to seventy-eight years in 2007, its distribution has become more unequal.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.
Ayşegül Şahin is a vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.