How Economic Crises Affect Inflation Beliefs: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic
This paper studies how inflation beliefs reported in the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations have evolved since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that household inflation expectations responded slowly and mostly at the short-term horizon. In contrast, the data reveal immediate and unprecedented increases in individual inflation uncertainty and in inflation disagreement across respondents. We find evidence of a strong polarization in inflation beliefs and we show differences across demographic groups. Finally, we document a strong link, consistent with precautionary ...
The Federal Reserve's Term Auction Facility
As liquidity conditions in the term funding markets grew increasingly strained in late 2007, the Federal Reserve began making funds available directly to banks through a new tool, the Term Auction Facility (TAF). The TAF provides term funding on a collateralized basis, at interest rates and amounts set by auction. The facility is designed to improve liquidity by making it easier for sound institutions to borrow when the markets are not operating efficiently.
Introducing the FRBNY Survey of Consumer Expectations: Labor Market Expectations
In the previous two blog postings in this series, we described the goals, structure, and content of the new FRBNY Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) and presented some findings regarding inflation expectations. In this third posting, we focus on the labor market component of the SCE.
Which Households Have Negative Wealth?
At some point in its life a household’s total debt may exceed its total assets, in which case it has “negative wealth.” Even if this status is temporary, it may affect the household’s ability to save for durable goods, restrict access to further credit, and may require living in a state of limited consumption. Detailed analysis of the holdings of negative-wealth households, however, is a topic that has received little attention. In particular, relatively little is known about the characteristics of such households or about what drives negative wealth. A better understanding of these ...
History of Discount Window Stigma
In August 2007, at the onset of the recent financial crisis, the Federal Reserve encouraged banks to borrow from the discount window (DW) but few did so. This lack of DW borrowing has been widely attributed to stigma--concerns that, if discount borrowing were detected, depositors, creditors, and analysts could interpret it as a sign of financial weakness. In this post, we review the history of the DW up until 2003, when the current DW regime was established, and argue that some past policies may have inadvertently contributed to a reluctance to borrow from the DW that persists to this day.
How Have Households Used Their Stimulus Payments and How Would They Spend the Next?
In this post, we examine how households used economic impact payments, a large component of the CARES Act signed into law on March 27 that directed stimulus payments to many Americans to help offset the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. An important question in evaluating how much this part of the CARES Act stimulated the economy concerns what share of these payments households used for consumption—what economists call the marginal propensity to consume (MPC). There also is interest in learning the extent to which the payments contributed to the sharp increase in the U.S. ...
Is There Stigma to Discount Window Borrowing?
The Federal Reserve employs the discount window (DW) to provide funding to fundamentally solvent but illiquid banks (see the March 30 post “Why Do Central Banks Have Discount Windows?”). Historically, however, there has been a low level of DW use by banks, even when they are faced with severe liquidity shortages, raising the possibility of a stigma attached to DW borrowing. If DW stigma exists, it is likely to inhibit the Fed’s ability to act as lender of last resort and prod banks to turn to more expensive sources of financing when they can least afford it. In this post, we provide ...
What Are Consumers’ Inflation Expectations Telling Us Today?
The United States has experienced a considerable rise in inflation over the past year. In this post, we examine how consumers’ inflation expectations have responded to inflation during the pandemic period and to what extent this is different from the behavior of consumers’ expectations before the pandemic. We analyze two aspects of the response of consumers’ expectations to changing conditions. First, we examine by how much consumers revise their inflation expectations in response to inflation surprises. Second, we look at the pass-through of revisions in short-term inflation ...
Changes in the timing distribution of Fedwire funds transfers
The Federal Reserve's Fedwire funds transfer service - the biggest large-value payments system in the United States - has long displayed a peak of activity in the late afternoon. Theory suggests that the concentration of late-afternoon Fedwire activity reflects coordination among participating banks to reduce liquidity costs, delay costs, and credit risk; as these costs and risk change over time, payment timing most likely will be affected. This article seeks to quantify how the changing environment in which Fedwire operates has affected the timing of payment value transferred within the ...
How Do People Revise Their Inflation Expectations?
The New York Fed started releasing results from its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) three years ago, in June 2013. The SCE is a monthly, nationally representative, internet-based survey of a rotating panel of about 1,300 household heads. Its goal, as described in a series of Liberty Street Economics posts, is to collect timely and high-quality information on consumer expectations about a broad range of topics, covering both macroeconomic variables and the households' own situation. In this post, we look at what drives changes in consumer inflation expectations. Do people respond to ...