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Author:Whitaker, Stephan 

Journal Article
The Evolution of Household Leverage during the Recovery

Recent research has shown that geographic areas that experienced greater household deleveraging during the recession also experienced relatively severe economic contractions and slower recoveries. This analysis explores geographic variations in household debt over the past recession and recovery. It fi nds that regions that had very high household leverage at the start of the recession have shifted back toward national norms, while the variation of leverage within metro areas has maintained steady relationships with neighborhood characteristics such as location,demographics, and the age of ...
Economic Commentary , Issue Sept

Journal Article
Are Millennials with Student Loans Upwardly Mobile?

Students have been amassing ever growing levels of debt to attend college. The situation has raised concerns about whether the debt is high enough that the benefits of borrowing?in terms of students? future socioeconomic outcomes?are compromised. This Commentary investigates relationships between student debt, mobility, and upward social mobility. The findings suggest that student debts have not become so burdensome that they undo the advantages of higher skills. However, the advantages enjoyed by heavily indebted millennial students relative to nonborrowers have declined substantially from ...
Economic Commentary , Issue Oct

Journal Article
Manufacturing or Degree-Intensive Labor Markets: Where Do the Children of Non-College Graduates Earn More Degrees?

Manufacturing employment has declined since the 1970s, while the number of jobs requiring a college degree has risen. The shift has reshaped the environment in which many young people grow up and pursue their educations, potentially affecting the level of education they attain. This analysis uses the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth to investigate the relationship between industrial composition and the educational attainment of children whose parents have only a high school education or less. The results show that the educational attainment of these youths is correlated with their ...
Economic Commentary , Issue October

Journal Article
Making financial markets safer for consumers: lessons from consumer goods markets and beyond

In the wake of the mortgage meltdown, policymakers are discussing how best to protect consumers in financial product markets.
Forefront , Issue Winter , Pages 8-13

Discussion Paper
A conference on consumer protection in financial product markets

A conference organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland engendered an informative discussion of consumer protection in financial products markets. Anticipating significant changes in financial regulation, the conference asked the question, "How could regulators successfully protect consumers?" It intentionally looked beyond the existing institutions. The first of three panels discussed how consumers gather information and process it to make purchase decisions. Lessons learned from research on food labeling and shopping were discussed. Another panel examined the roles of ...
Policy Discussion Papers , Issue May

Other
Estimates of State and Local Government Revenue Losses from Pandemic Mitigation

This data brief presents estimates of the impacts of the COVID-19 mitigation shutdowns on US state and local income and sales tax revenue. The author estimates that these revenues will decline by $54 billion in fiscal year 2020 (FY20). Depending on the speed of the recovery over the next fiscal year, another $25 billion to $137 billion of revenue may be lost. If states split their rainy day funds between FY20 and fiscal year 2021 (FY21) to offset these revenue declines, the shortfalls would be reduced to $21 billion in FY20 and $4 billion to $78 billion in FY21.
Cleveland Fed District Data Brief

Working Paper
Prioritization in private-activity-bond volume cap allocation

This paper proposes and tests a structural model reflecting the process of authorizing private-activity municipal bond issuance. Private-activity municipal bonds offer tax-exempt financing for programs including industrial development, utilities, low-income housing, and student loans. The Federal tax code sets annual caps on the total tax-exempt issuance within each state, so authorization becomes a scarce resource distributed via a political process. Interviews with program administrators in several states suggested the authorization process involves prioritizing categories of use, ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1110

Working Paper
Financial Innovations and Issuer Sophistication in Municipal Securities Markets

When local governments default or file for bankruptcy, it is often because public officials misunderstood the risks associated with innovative financial products. If unsophisticated municipal bond issuers were to widely adopt a high risk financial product, this could harm taxpayers and investors, as well as destabilize the financial system. This analysis uses municipal bond issuers? total debt outstanding as a proxy for their sophistication and investigates the relationship between sophistication and adoption of financial innovations. Using comprehensive data on securities issued between 1992 ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1404

Working Paper
Private-activity municipal bonds: the political economy of volume cap allocation

State governments allocate authority, under a federally imposed cap, to issue tax-exempt bonds that fund ?private activities? such as industrial expansion, student loans, and low-income housing. This paper presents political economy models of the allocation process and an empirical analysis. Due to an idiosyncrasy of the tax code, the annual per capita volume cap varies widely across states. I estimate that, on average, there is an additional $0.80 per capita per year of borrowing for each additional dollar per capita of volume cap. This confirms that the cap is a binding constraint in most ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1013

Working Paper
Household Debt and Local Public Finances

In the wake of the Great Recession, steep declines in state and local government expenditures and employment were a large and persistent source of economic weakness. The business cycle was also characterized by large increases and decreases in household debt. We estimate the extent to which variation in local government revenues and expenditures can be explained by variation in the expansion of household debt from 2002 to 2007, and the contraction thereafter. We merge individual credit balance data with municipal financial data from the Census of Governments. Using Census block indicators, we ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1431

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