Race and mortgage lending: dissecting the controversy
Are we investing too little?
One of the most disappointing features of U.S. economic performance over the past 20 years has been the slowing of growth in productivity and, as a result, in real incomes. For many, the explanation can be found in the low U.S. saving rate. Since the mid 1980s, national saving has averaged just over 15 percent of GDP, compared to more than 20 percent during the 1970s. Thus, one plausible explanation for slow productivity growth, at least in recent years, could be that our low saving rate is constraining investment and thereby depriving the nation of both the tools and the technologies that ...
Mortgage lending in Boston: a response to the critics
Three years ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released an examination of racial patterns in mortgage denial rates in the Boston area. The study was motivated by newly available data on mortgage applications, showing that black and Hispanic applicants were two to three times as likely to be turned down for mortgages as white applicants. The study gathered all the variables thought to be missing from the HMDA analysis, such as the applicants' debt burdens and credit histories, to see whether these economic factors explained the racial difference in denial rates. Although the additional ...
Reinvigorating Springfield's economy: lessons from resurgent cities
As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper analyzes the economic development approaches of other mid-sized manufacturing-oriented cities during the past half century. From among a comparison group of 25 municipalities that were similar to Springfield in 1960, the study identifies 10 "resurgent cities" that have made substantial progress in improving living standards for their residents, and that are recognized as vital communities in a broader sense by experts on urban economic ...
Jobs in Springfield, Massachusetts: understanding and remedying the causes of low resident employment rates
As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper explores the causes of and potential remedies for the city's low resident employment rates. When compared to the state as a whole and to other midsize New England cities, the share of employed city residents is low, particularly for residents of downtown Springfield and its nearby neighborhoods. By analyzing the availability of jobs across Springfield's various neighborhoods and in nearby towns and cities, this paper's goal is to learn why so few ...
One view of what the future holds for New England
After a decade of truly remarkable growth, the New England economy has weakened. Employment fell in 1989 and the unemployment rate increased. Further weakening seems to have occurred in the early months of 1990. New England continues to compare favorably with the nation according to such common indicators as the unemployment rate and per capita income, but recent developments suggest that the region is returning to a more normal relationship with the rest of the country. This transition is proving to be quite painful for some sectors of the economy, resulting in a high degree of confusion and ...
The saving mystery, or where did the money go?
Of great concern and puzzlement to many has been the decline in the U.S. personal saving rate. From 8 percent of personal income 20 years ago, saving has fallen to less than 4 percent. This is a matter of concern because saving and investment are closely linked, and investment is believed critical to productivity gains and a rising standard of living. The decline in saving is also a source of puzzlement because it runs counter to many people's perception of what is happening.> This article investigates the decline in saving, focusing on "where the money went." The authors find that rising ...
New England transformed
The feature essay of the 2010 annual report discusses some of the changes that have occurred in New England over the past four decades, comparing the challenges we faced in the mid-1970s with those we face today.
Towards a more prosperous Springfield, Massachusetts: project introduction and motivation
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has committed to supporting ongoing efforts at the state and local levels to revitalize the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. Drawing upon its analytical capabilities, its experience working with community organizations and earlier research on poverty in Springfield, the Bank seeks to develop strategies that will enable Springfield residents, particularly those living in impoverished neighborhoods in and near downtown, to participate more fully in the Springfield economy and the revitalization process. The Bank?s efforts are also intended to complement the ...