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Author:Owyang, Michael T. 

Journal Article
Output and unemployment: how do they relate today?

Fifty years ago, Arthur Okun examined the relationship between output growth and the unemployment rate. The empirical relationship of the resulting ?Okun?s law? has remained largely intact since then, including during the Great Recession. However, while the law does fit our intuition about economic relationships, it should not necessarily be taken to be causal.
The Regional Economist , Issue October

Journal Article
Economic Forecasting: Comparing the Fed with the Private Sector

Fed forecasts have generally been more accurate than private forecasts, but the reason isn?t clear.
The Regional Economist , Volume 27 , Issue 3

Working Paper
Asymmetry, Complementarities, and State Dependence in Federal Reserve Forecasts

Forecasts are a central component of policy making; the Federal Reserve''s forecasts are published in a document called the Greenbook. Previous studies of the Greenbook''s inflation forecasts have found them to be rationalizable but asymmetric if considering particular sub-periods, e.g., before and after the Volcker appointment. In these papers, forecasts are analyzed in isolation, assuming policymakers value them independently. We analyze the Greenbook fore- casts in a framework in which the forecast errors are allowed to interact. We find that allowing the losses to interact makes the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2013-012

Working Paper
Clustered Housing Cycles

Using a panel of U.S. city-level building permits data, we estimate a Markov-switching model of housing cycles that allows for idiosyncratic departures from a national housing cycle. These departures occur for clusters of cities that experience simultaneous housing contractions. We find that cities do not form housing regions in the traditional geographic sense. Instead, similarities in factors affecting the demand for housing (such as average winter temperature and the unemployment rate) appear to be more important determinants of cyclical comovements than similarities in factors affecting ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1524

Journal Article
Survey says...

National Economic Trends , Issue Sep

Journal Article
How Do Local Labor Markets Affect Retirement?

Compared with prime-age workers, older workers face an easier path out of the labor force if they lose their jobs during a recession. However, premature job exits or earnings losses in the years leading up to retirement may be particularly devastating to retirement savings. The authors analyze the impact of recent business cycles on retirement using multifaceted job transitions of older workers. They focus on local labor markets because older workers are particularly unlikely to move for work. Surprisingly, the biggest effect of a higher local unemployment rate on older workers is to raise ...
Review , Volume 99 , Issue 3 , Pages 259-78

Journal Article
A Measure of Price Pressures

The Federal Reserve devotes significant resources to forecasting key economic variables such as real gross domestic product growth, employment, and inflation. The outlook for these variables also matters a great deal to businesses and financial market participants. The authors present a factor-augmented Bayesian vector autoregressive forecasting model that significantly outperforms both a benchmark random walk model and a pure time-series model. They then use these factors in an ordered probit model to develop the probability distribution over a 12-month horizon. One distribution assesses the ...
Review , Volume 97 , Issue 1 , Pages 25-52

Journal Article
What's in a name? reconciling conflicting evidence on ethnic names

One study shows that Kenya and Hakim might have more trouble getting their resumes noticed than Allison and Brad do. But another study indicates that distinctively African-American names don't lead to worse economic outcomes in adulthood.
The Regional Economist , Issue Jan , Pages 10-11

Journal Article
Splitsville: the economics of unilateral divorce

New studies have looked at the impact of easier divorce on everything from women working outside the home to children's education to spousal violence.
The Regional Economist , Issue Jan , Pages 12-16

Working Paper
Is housing the business cycle? evidence from U.S. cities

We analyze the relationship between housing and the business cycle in a set of 51 U.S. cities. Most surprisingly, we find that declines in house prices are often not followed by declines in employment. We also find that national permits are a better leading indicator for a city?s employment than a city?s own permits.
Working Papers , Paper 2009-007

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