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Do public pension obligations affect state funding costs?
States? unfunded pension obligations to their current and retired employees have exploded in recent years to levels that are estimated to be between $750 billion and $4.4 trillion. In theory, this massive debt should have implications for states? ability to meet their financial obligations and a measurable impact on funding costs. Yet, we find no evidence that municipal bond markets are pricing the risks to states? fiscal health arising from these large obligations.
Do Oil Prices Predict Inflation?
Some analysts pay particular attention to oil prices, thinking they might give an advance signal of changes in inflation. However, using a variety of statistical tests, we find that adding oil prices does little to improve forecasts of CPI inflation. Our results suggest that higher oil prices today do not necessarily signal higher CPI inflation next year, although they do help to explain short-term movements in the CPI.