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Series:Economic and Financial Policy Review  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas 

Journal Article
The federal funds rate as an indicator of monetary policy: evidence from the 1980s

Recently, several economists have argued that movements in the federal funds rate are a good proxy for changes in monetary policy. In this article, Nathan Balke and Kenneth Emery critically examine this view and the evidence supporting it. Using simple vector autoregressions, they find that before 1980 the correlations between the federal funds rate and other important macroeconomic variables are consistent with a traditional monetary policy interpretation of the federal funds rate. However, they show that after 1982 the relationships between the federal funds rate and other macroeconomic ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q I , Pages 1-15

Journal Article
Demographics and the long-term outlook for housing investment

John Hill and D'Ann Petersen measure the importance of projected shifts in the size and age distribution of the U.S. population for domestic housing investment. Their analysis runs through the year 2010 and provides separate estimates for single-family and multifamily investment. ; Hill and Petersen find that the contractionary effects of the population slowdown are already being felt in the housing industry and probably have been since the latter part of the 1980s. In Hill and Petersen's simulations, demographic shifts lower net housing investment by 17 percent from the late 1980s through ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q I , Pages 17-25

Journal Article
A primer on the nature of business cycles

Discussions of the effects of monetary and fiscal policy sometimes center on the impact of such policies in ameliorating fluctuations associated with the business cycle. However, though familiar with the term "business cycle," many people are not aware of what it refers to exactly. In this article, Gregory Huffman presents an explanation of the term and provides a detailed illustration of post-World War II U.S. business cycles. He also contrasts the behavior of various U.S. economic time series over the business cycle with similar Canadian statistics and points out some apparent anomalies ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q I , Pages 27-41

Journal Article
The saving grace

Many economists agree that a country's rate of saving can be a key factor in the growth rate and living standards the country achieves. Analysts are less certain about which factors have positive and negative influences on saving, what role government should have in creating a better environment for saving, and the extent to which a country can offset the effects of low domestic saving by tapping into other countries' savings. ; Economists, bankers, and officials discussed these and other aspects of saving earlier this year at a symposium sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 43-52

Journal Article
The consumer price index

The consumer price index (CPI) is probably the most closely watched indicator of inflation in the U.S. economy. In this article, Mark Wynne and Fiona Sigalla explain the construction of the CPI and evaluate some of its potential shortcomings as a measure of inflation. Specifically, they examine the discrepancies that arise between the CPI and the true cost- of-living index as a result of improvements in the quality of goods, the introduction of new goods, substitution on the part of consumers between different goods and retail outlets, and the difficulty of measuring the prices actually paid ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q II , Pages 1-22

Journal Article
The Texas construction sector: the tail that wagged the dog

The boom-to-bust days of the Texas construction industry will linger in people's memory for many years. D'Ann Petersen, Keith Phillips, and Mine Yucel examine the factors that led to the rise and fall of the Texas construction industry and determine the role the industry played in the state's volatile economy during the 1970s and 1980s. ; Petersen, Phillips, and Yucel employ an econometric model to analyze the roles residential and nonresidential construction played in the state's economic fluctuations from 1976 through 1990. The authors find that, although large swings in oil prices were the ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q II , Pages 23-33

Journal Article
Solving the mystery of the disappearing January blip in state employment data

Frank Berger and Keith Phillips propose a new two-step method of seasonally adjusting state Current Employment Statistics (CES) data produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This method, first proposed in the July/August 1993 issue of Southwest Economy, recently was adopted by the BLS to seasonally adjust the broadest industry groupings of the state employment series. With this new adjustment procedure, the state employment data should be smoother and better reflect trend-cycle movements than if a more traditional seasonal adjustment method were used. ; The article finds that ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q II , Pages 53-62

Journal Article
An economy at risk? The social costs of school inefficiency

A preponderance of economic evidence demonstrates that the public school system in the United States is less efficient than it could be. However, few researchers have examined the economic consequences of such inefficiency. Lori Taylor finds that, although school inefficiency can crowd out consumption and investment in the remainder of the economy and can reduce the rate of return to investments in education, inefficiency has only a limited impact on economic activity. She estimates that, even compounded over twenty-five years, plausible degrees of school inefficiency reduce consumption and ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 1-13

Journal Article
Monetary policy and recent business-cycle experience

Some critics of recent monetary policy have focused on slow M2 growth, claiming that the Federal Reserve is too interested in price stability and is forsaking its growth mandate. Others criticize the Fed for achieving price stability too cautiously and urge the adoption of a rule that seeks to eliminate inflation more quickly. ; R. W. Hafer, Joseph Haslag and Scott Hein examine two alternative monetary policies and gauge their expected impacts on economic activity. Both policies are simulated over the period 198792. One policy, a GNP-targeting rule similar to one proposed by Bennett McCallum, ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 14-28

Journal Article
GATT and the new protectionism

The Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is the first agreement of its kind that reduces or eliminates tariffs on many goods and addresses issues related to intellectual property rights, trade in services and agricultural subsidies. With good reason, it has generated much optimism about the future of free world trade. ; But does GATT's trade liberalization today mean that trade will remain liberalized tomorrow? Increasingly, governments are counteracting the perceived unfair trade practices of other nations with their own trade barriers. While concerns about ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 29-42

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