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Content Type:Briefing 

How useful are consumer surveys as macroeconomic indicators?

Most economic indicators attempt to summarize what happened at a particular time in the past. Consumer surveys, however, examine attitudes and are thus fundamentally different from other widely reported indicators. Some surveys, such as those that measure inflation expectations, have proven to be useful to economists and policymakers, while the evidence is more mixed for others, such as forecasts of consumer spending.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue July

2019 Richmond Fed Research Digest

Summaries of work by economists in the Bank’s Research Department published externally from June 1, 2018, through May 31, 2019
Research Digest

A principal components approach to estimating labor market pressure and its implications for inflation

We build a summary measure of labor market pressure that captures the common movement among a variety of labor market series. Obtained as the labor market series? first principal component, this measure explains a large portion of the variability of the underlying series. For this reason, it is a good summary indicator of labor market pressure. We show that the unemployment rate gap has tracked this summary measure closely over the past 35 years. At times, however, the summary measure and the unemployment rate gap have sent somewhat different signals. In terms of relying on the principal ...
Public Policy Brief

Paper, plastic... or phone?

This article examines mobile-phone payment and banking alternatives in the United States. It explores prospects for growth, available technologies, and the outlook for one or more technologies coming to dominate the market.
Payments System Research Briefing , Issue Dec

Recent fiscal policy and the manipulation of aggregate economic activity

It is widely believed that public sector spending and investment can restore aggregate economic activity to efficient levels. But some policy responses are likely to be more successful than others. In particular, directly targeting frictions in capital, labor, and insurance markets arguably provides the best chances of improving welfare.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue Aug

Neobanks: Banks by Any Other Name?

Neobanks, or digital banks, are bank-like providers of financial services that operate through apps and aim to appeal to different consumer groups through innovative features and design. Whether or not neobanks evolve into full banks, they have the potential to affect the traditional banking model.
Payments System Research Briefing

Estimating Aggregate Fiscal Multipliers from Local Data

Variations among regions in their responses to economic policies can be used to estimate the effects of those policies at the national level while minimizing or eliminating issues of reverse causation. Recent research has employed county-level data to look at the effects of federal government spending ? in particular, the 2009?12 stimulus ? on aggregate consumption.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue May

The Persistence of Financial Distress

Household financial distress is pervasive. Is this pattern driven by a small share of individuals experiencing persistent distress, by the majority facing more occasional distress, or something in between? Recent research indicates that over a lifetime, financial distress is unlikely for most but very persistent for some. Models that account for the uncertain evolution of consumers' earnings over time and the availability of formal consumer bankruptcy cannot explain ? by themselves ? this pattern, but a model that also allows for informal default and variation in consumers' willingness to ...
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue March

Welfare Analysis of Debit Card Interchange Fee Regulation

Merchants pay interchange fees to card issuers when they accept credit or debit cards as payment. Many merchants have complained that the fees far exceed issuers' costs for processing such transactions. In response to those complaints, Congress directed the Federal Reserve to impose a cap on debit card interchange fees. The cap lowered interchange fees for most merchants, but it yielded some unintended consequences. An analysis of the payment-card market suggests several factors to consider, in addition to issuer costs, when setting interchange fees to maximize social welfare.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue Oct

The Road to Cyberinfrastructure at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

As economic models grow in computational complexity and researchers increase their data needs, the staff at the Center for the Advancement of Data and Research in Economics (CADRE) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City needed to develop an environment that could facilitate better research accommodating these new factors. Staff have worked through multiple technological changes to design and deliver the right infrastructure to meet researchers’ needs, from the development of the first high-performance computing (HPC) environment at the Bank, to the research and coincident development of ...
Technical Briefings , Paper TB 18-02


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