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School vouchers: the right choice or wrong policy for improving our schools?
August is back-to-school time, but for many families that means a return to poor-performing schools. The perennial question is how to improve performance. The use of school vouchers is one proposed but highly debated solution. This article examines the history of school vouchers and the major arguments for and against them.
Forecasting with mixed frequencies
A dilemma faced by forecasters is that data are not all sampled at the same frequency. Most macroeconomic data are sampled monthly (e.g., employment) or quarterly (e.g., GDP). Most financial variables (e.g., interest rates and asset prices), on the other hand, are sampled daily or even more frequently. The challenge is how to best use available data. To that end, the authors survey some common methods for dealing with mixed-frequency data. They show that, in some cases, simply averaging the higher-frequency data produces no discernible disadvantage. In other cases, however, explicitly ...
Identifying asymmetry in the language of the Beige Book: a mixed data sampling approach
Studies of the predictive ability of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, an anecdotal measure of regional economic conditions, for aggregate output and employment have proven inconclusive. This might be attributed, in part, to the irregular release schedule of the Beige Book. In this paper, we use a model that allows for data sampling at mixed frequencies to analyze the predictive power of the Beige Book for both aggregate and regional data. We find that the Beige Book's national summary predicts GDP and aggregate employment, but that the information content in the district reports for regional ...
Monetary policy and commodity futures
This paper constructs daily measures of the real interest rate and expected inflation using commodity futures prices and the term structure of Treasury yields. We find that commodity futures markets respond to surprise increases in the federal funds rate target by raising the inflation rate expected over the next 3 to 9 months. There is no evidence that the real interest rate responds to surprises in the federal funds target. The data from the commodity futures markets are highly volatile; we show that one can substantially reduce the noise using limited information estimators such as the ...
A falling dollar raises inflation in the Gulf
International perspectives on the \"Great Moderation\"
Examining the housing crisis by home price tier
When broken down by price level - high-priced, mid-priced, and lower-priced homes - the housing boom and subsequent implosion affected each tier differently.
How would modern macroeconomic schools of thought respond to the recent economic crisis?
What would some of the most famous economists, such as John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, and Adam Smith, and their followers say about the current financial and economic crisis? The November 2009 newsletter essay by Michelle Armesto outlines their probable responses.