Land of opportunity? Economic mobility in the United States. 2012 annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Economics writer Jessie Romero and group vice president Kartik Athreya interpret data that suggest economic mobility has decreased in recent years. Many factors contribute to mobility, but for most people advancement depends on opportunities to obtain human capital ? opportunities that are not as good for children in poor families. Initiatives that focus on early childhood education seem to yield high returns on investment. Their feasibility on a large scale is unknown, but they may have the potential to help the United States achieve a more inclusive prosperity.
The financial crisis : toward an explanation and policy response. 2008 annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
This year's article was co-authored by Aaron Steelman, director of publications, and John A. Weinberg, senior vice president and director of research. The authors discuss the key events of the financial crisis, examine which factors contributed to it, and consider how policymakers might most effectively respond. At the core of their discussion is the role that explicit and implicit government guarantees played in encouraging unwise risk-taking by financial institutions.
Systemic risk and the pursuit of efficiency
In this essay, senior economist Kartik Athreya identifies systemic risk with the presence of linkages between market participants, where problems for one directly create problems for others. He argues that such situations can arise from the use of contractual arrangements, especially debt that requires frequent refinancing and liquidation in the event of an inability to repay. The presence of spillover effects can, in turn, lead to outcomes in the wake of shocks that can be improved via policy intervention. Nonetheless, he cautions against taking this as a license to intervene after the fact, ...
Unsustainable fiscal policy: implications for monetary policy
Federal government debt held by the public reached 67.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2011, and trends point to large budget deficits for many years to come. In this essay, economics writer Renee Haltom and research director John Weinberg explore the implications for monetary policy if the United States ever approached its "fiscal limit." In that scenario, the Federal Reserve might face pressure to produce inflation revenue. The authors conclude that the United States must avoid this scenario by placing fiscal policy on a more sustainable path
Falling Short: Why Isn't the U.S. Producing More College graduates?
Why is the United States not producing more college graduates, especially in light of the large and persistent wage gap between workers who graduate from college and those who do not? Senior policy economist Urvi Neelakantan and economics writer Jessie Romero consider several factors that may help answer the question, including inadequate preparation during students' K-12 years. They discuss how K-12 preparation varies with socioeconomic status and how "school-choice" initiatives are intended to give more children access to high-quality schools.
Living Wills: A Tool for Curbing 'Too Big to Fail'
Economist Arantxa Jarque and senior editor David A. Price explore an innovation of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which requires the largest and most complex financial institutions to create resolution plans to follow if the institutions fall into severe financial distress. In these plans, or "living wills," the institutions must give regulators a roadmap for resolving them via the bankruptcy process ? without disrupting the financial system or resorting to public bailouts. Jarque and Price argue that living wills are a tool that regulators can use to curb the "too big to fail" problem ...
A \\"New Normal\\"? The Prospects for Long-Term Growth in the United States
Aaron Steelman, director of publications, and John A. Weinberg, senior vice president and special advisor to the president, examine the claim that the U.S. economy has reached a "new normal" of roughly 2 percent annual growth. This has been the average growth rate since the end of the Great Recession, considerably lower than the post-World War II average. Proponents of the new normal hypothesis argue, among other things, that innovation has slowed and is unlikely to improve. They also believe that demographic trends pose serious problems for U.S. fiscal policy and will exert a drag on the ...