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Series:Liberty Street Economics 

Discussion Paper
Back to the Future: Revisiting the European Crisis

Recent financial developments are calling into question the future of regional economic integration. Market confidence deteriorates across countries in a contagious way. The place is Europe, the time is . . . now? Or twenty years ago? In fact, in the early 1990s Europe went through a systemic crisis that displays remarkable similarities to today’s events. In this post, we go back to those momentous times and briefly recall how the last Europe-wide crisis started, unfolded, and concluded. The 1992 crisis was eventually resolved, suggesting that there may be some light at the end of the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20111017

Discussion Paper
The Impact of Superstorm Sandy on New York City School Closures and Attendance

On October 29, superstorm Sandy hit the tri-state area, flooding streets, highways, tunnels, buildings, and homes, and crippling the region?s public transit system. At least ninety-four people in New York and New Jersey were killed. Downed power lines and damaged transformers plunged downtown Manhattan and coastal areas into days and weeks of darkness. The damage is still being assessed, but costs are sure to be in the tens of billions. Schools were no exception to this devastation, both in infrastructural damage and in disruptions to students? education. The storm shut down all 1,750 New ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20121219

Discussion Paper
Crisis Chronicles: The Long Depression and the Panic of 1873

It always seemed to come down to railroads in the 1800s. Railroads fueled much of the economic growth in the United States at that time, but they required that a great deal of upfront capital be devoted to risky projects. The panics of 1837 and 1857 can both be pinned on railroad investments that went awry, creating enough doubt about the banking system to cause pervasive bank runs. The fatal spark for the Panic of 1873 was also tied to railroad investments—a major bank financing a railroad venture announced that it would suspend withdrawals. As other banks started failing, consumers and ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160205

Discussion Paper
What About Spending on Consumer Goods?

In a recent Liberty Street Economics post, I showed that one major category of consumer spending?spending on discretionary services such as recreation, transportation, and household utilities?behaved very differently in the 2007-09 recession and subsequent recovery than in previous business cycles: specifically, it fell more steeply and has recovered much more slowly. This finding prompted one of the editors of this blog to inquire whether consumer goods spending has also departed markedly from its behavior in past cycles. To answer that question, I examined the decline of expenditures on ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180116

Discussion Paper
Bank Capital and Risk: Cautionary or Precautionary?

Do riskier banks have more capital? Banking companies with more equity capital are better protected against failure, all else equal, because they can absorb more losses before becoming insolvent. As a result, banks with riskier income and assets would hopefully choose to fund themselves with relatively more equity and less debt, giving them a larger equity cushion against potential losses. In this post, we use a top-down stress test model of the U.S. banking system?the Capital and Loss Assessment under Stress Scenarios (CLASS) model?to assess whether banks that are forecast to lose capital in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150202

Discussion Paper
How Does Supervision Affect Banks?

Supervisors monitor banks to assess the banks? compliance with rules and regulations but also to ensure that they engage in safe and sound practices (see our earlier post What Do Banking Supervisors Do?). Much of the work that bank supervisors do is behind the scenes and therefore difficult for outsiders to measure. In particular, it is difficult to know what impact, if any, supervisors have on the behavior of banks. In this post, we describe a new Staff Report in which we attempt to measure the impact that supervision has on bank performance. Does more attention by supervisors lead to lower ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160413

Discussion Paper
Common Stock Repurchases during the Financial Crisis

Large bank holding companies (BHCs) continued to pay dividends to their shareholders well after the onset of the recent financial crisis. Academics, industry analysts, and policymakers have noted that these payments reduced capital at these firms at a time when there was considerable uncertainty about the full extent of losses facing individual banks and the banking industry. But dividends are not the only means to return capital to shareholders; stock repurchases serve much the same function. In this post, I examine common stock repurchases by large BHCs during the financial crisis and show ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20130710

Discussion Paper
Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?

What is the purpose of health care? What is the purpose of health insurance? When people fall ill, they seek health care in order to get better. But insurance has a slightly different function: Its main role is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances. For most people, lifetime health expenditures are quite low. However, some people have enormous health costs owing to major illnesses or health conditions. And this is where health insurance comes in?its goal (like that of any other form of insurance) is to protect these individuals against large, and sometimes ruinous, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160606

Discussion Paper
Do the Fed’s International Dollar Liquidity Facilities Affect Offshore Dollar Funding Markets and Credit?

At the outbreak of the pandemic, in March 2020, the Federal Reserve implemented a suite of facilities, including two associated with international dollar liquidity—the central bank swap lines and the Foreign International Monetary Authorities (FIMA) repo facility—to provide dollar liquidity. This post discusses recent evidence showing the contributions of these facilities to financial and economic stability, highlighting evidence from recent research by Goldberg and Ravazzolo (December 2021).
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20211220

Discussion Paper
The Debt Ceiling as a “Fiscal Rule”

A few months ago, the federal government was once again confronted with the need to raise the statutory limit on the amount of debt issued by the Treasury. As in the past, the protracted stalemate and associated uncertainty led to calls to eliminate the debt ceiling. In this post, I make the counterargument. Likely because of its straightforwardness, the debt ceiling has been an effective “fiscal rule.” The reduction of the federal deficit from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s was due in large part to a series of budget compromises, all of which were accompanied by the need to raise the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20111109

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