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Series:Policy Hub 

Discussion Paper
Standing Repo Facilities, Then and Now

Recently there have been discussions, both within the FOMC and more broadly, about whether the FOMC should set up a standing repo facility. Such a facility would allow banks to sell safe assets (U.S. Treasury securities) to the Fed, with the assurance of subsequent repurchase, in unlimited quantities at an administered rate. This is not a new idea. In fact, a similar facility was implemented in 1683by the Bank of Amsterdam, the leading central bank of the time, and operated for more than a century afterward. In this article, we describe the motivations, operations, and limitations of the Bank ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-1

Discussion Paper
Changes in State Unemployment Insurance Rules during the COVID-19 Outbreak in the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented expansion in unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility across states. While more than forty states had modified UI rules by the end of March, not all states responded in the same way. In this article, I summarize the changes to state UI rules in response to the crisis and explore factors that have contributed to the variation in states’ responses.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-2

Discussion Paper
Impacts of COVID-19: Mitigation Efforts versus Herd Immunity

The rapid spread of COVID-19 is having devastating effects on the global economy. With death curves beginning to bend, governments will soon need to determine when and how to relax lockdown measures. The crucial question is: what are the public health consequences of reopening the economy? In this article, we argue that the observed decline in daily deaths could be due to two scenarios: social distancing measures and herd immunity. Both the widely used SIR model and the data collected thus far cannot distinguish these two scenarios. Such an identification problem generates a large degree of ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-3

Discussion Paper
Why Cash Transfers Are Good Policy in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an exceptionally large and negative impact on economic activity around the world. We show that cash transfers can be a useful policy tool during a pandemic. Cash transfers mitigate consumption inequality induced by the pandemic and provide incentives to individuals who are most negatively affected by lockdown policies to adhere to them.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-4

Discussion Paper
The Federal Reserve's Liquidity Backstops to the Municipal Bond Market during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous hardship all over the world. In response, the Federal Reserve has moved quickly and aggressively to support the economy in the United States. In this article, we present some initial evidence for the effectiveness of some of the facilities in calming the municipal bond market, particularly the short-term variable-rate demand obligation (VRDO) market. We discuss the important role of liquidity backstops in mitigating runs and stabilizing financial markets in general based on insights from our study on the runs on VRDO and auction-rate securities ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-5

Discussion Paper
Mismatch of Jobs and People: Do Migration Constraints Put Racial Minorities at a Disadvantage?

Using the American Community Survey between 2005 and 2017, this article explores the evidence for potential migration constraints by comparing distributions of people and jobs across race and education. Using the Delta Index of dissimilarity, it illustrates a greater distributional mismatch between workers and jobs among racial minorities, relative to White non-Hispanics. This mismatch suggests greater migration constraints among racial minorities.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-06

Discussion Paper
Evaluating the Benefits of a Streamlined Refinance Program

Mortgage borrowers who have experienced employment disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are unable to refinance their loans to take advantage of historically low market rates. In this article, we analyze the effects of a streamlined refinance ("refi") program for government-insured loans that would allow borrowers to refinance without needing to document employment or income. In addition, we consider a cash-out component that would allow borrowers to extract some of the substantial amount of housing equity that many have accumulated in recent years.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-08

Discussion Paper
Wage Growth over Unemployment Spells

This article looks at the wage growth associated with a spell of unemployment during the past three recessions. Our main findings are threefold. First, half of all unemployed workers experience a lower hourly wage once they regain employment. Second, after an unemployment spell, older workers and those without a college degree experience lower wage rowth. Third, workers who regain employment in a different industry than they were in previously tend to experience a substantial wage decline. The analysis suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic not only led to unprecedented job losses, but it could ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-09

Discussion Paper
Measuring and Managing COVID-19 Model Risk

One of the many lessons learned from the financial crisis is the increased awareness of model risk. In this article, I apply the best practices of model risk management found in SR 11-7 (which offers regulatory guidance on the best practices for managing model risk) to COVID-19 models. In particular, I investigate the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation's (IHME) model to see if it has been effectively challenged with a critical assessment of its conceptual soundness, ongoing monitoring, and outcomes analysis.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-07

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