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Jel Classification:C81 

Working Paper
Business Exit During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Non-Traditional Measures in Historical Context

Given lags in official data releases, economists have studied "alternative data" measures of business exit resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures are difficult to understand without historical context, so we review official data on business exit in recent decades. Business exit is common in the U.S., with about 7.5 percent of firms exiting annually in recent years, and is countercyclical (particularly recently). Both the high level and the cyclicality of exit are driven by very small firms. We explore a range of alternative measures and indicators of business exit, including ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-089

Report
An overview of the Survey of Consumer Expectations

This report presents an overview of the Survey of Consumer Expectations, a new monthly online survey of a rotating panel of household heads. The survey collects timely information on consumers? expectations and decisions on a broad variety of topics, including but not limited to inflation, household finance, the labor market, and the housing market. There are three main goals of the survey: (1) measuring consumer expectations at a high frequency, (2) understanding how these expectations are formed, and (3) investigating the link between expectations and behavior. This report discusses the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 800

Report
Heterogeneous inflation expectations and learning

Using the panel component of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, we estimate a learning model of inflation expectations, allowing for heterogeneous use of both private information and lifetime inflation experience. ?Life-experience inflation? has a significant impact on individual expectations, but only for one-year-ahead inflation. Public information is substantially more relevant for longer-horizon expectations. Even controlling for life-experience inflation and public information, idiosyncratic information explains a nontrivial proportion of the inflation forecasts of agents. We find that ...
Staff Reports , Paper 536

Report
Evaluating the quality of fed funds lending estimates produced from Fedwire payments data

A number of empirical analyses of interbank lending rely on indirect inferences from individual interbank transactions extracted from payments data using algorithms. In this paper, we conduct an evaluation to assess the ability of identifying overnight U.S. fed funds activity from Fedwire payments data. We find evidence that the estimates extracted from the data are statistically significantly correlated with banks' fed funds borrowing as reported on the FRY-9C. We find similar associations for fed funds lending, although the correlations are lower. To be conservative, we believe that the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 629

Report
Personal experiences and expectations about aggregate outcomes

We use novel survey data to estimate how personal experiences affect household expectations about aggregate economic outcomes in housing and labor markets. We exploit variation in locally experienced house prices to show that individuals systematically extrapolate from recent locally experienced home prices when asked for their expectations about U.S. house price changes over the next year. In addition, higher volatility of locally experienced house prices causes respondents to report a wider distribution over expected future national house price movements. We find similar results for labor ...
Staff Reports , Paper 748

Working Paper
Reaching the Hard to Reach with Intermediaries: The Kansas City Fed’s LMI Survey

Reaching hard-to-reach individuals is a common problem in survey research. The low- and moderate-income (LMI) population, for example, is generally hard to reach. The Kansas City Fed?s Low- and Moderate-Income Survey addresses this problem by sampling a database of organizations to serve as proxies for the LMI population. In this paper, I describe why the LMI population can be hard to reach. I then explore potential problems with using a nonrandom survey sample and address the empirical validity of the Kansas City Fed?s LMI Survey. I compare results from the survey using the standard sample ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 18-6

Working Paper
Missing Import Price Changes and Low Exchange Rate Pass-Through

A large body of empirical work has found that exchange rate movements have only modest effects on inflation. However, the response of an import price index to exchange rate movements may be underestimated because some import price changes are missed when constructing the index. We investigate downward biases that arise when items experiencing a price change are especially likely to exit or to enter the index. We show that, in theoretical pricing models, entry and exit have different implications for the timing and size of these biases. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) microdata, we ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1040

Working Paper
Heaping at Round Numbers on Financial Questions : The Role of Satisficing

Survey responses to quantitative financial questions frequently display strong patterns of heaping at round numbers. This paper uses two studies to examine variation in rounding across questions and by individual characteristics. Rounding was more common for respondents low in ability, for respondents low in motivation, and for more difficult questions, all consistent with theories of satisficing. Questions that require more difficult information retrieval and integration of information exhibit more heaping. The use of records, which lowers task difficulty, reduces rounding as well. Higher ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-006

Working Paper
Tracking Labor Market Developments during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Preliminary Assessment

Many traditional official statistics are not suitable for measuring high-frequency developments that evolve over the course of weeks, not months. In this paper, we track the labor market effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with weekly payroll employment series based on microdata from ADP. These data are available essentially in real-time, and allow us to track both aggregate and industry effects. Cumulative losses in paid employment through April 4 are currently estimated at 18 million; just during the two weeks between March 14 and March 28 the U.S. economy lost about 13 million paid jobs. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-030

Working Paper
Using Payroll Processor Microdata to Measure Aggregate Labor Market Activity

We show that high-frequency private payroll microdata can help forecast labor market conditions. Payroll employment is perhaps the most reliable real-time indicator of the business cycle and is therefore closely followed by policymakers, academia, and financial markets. Government statistical agencies have long served as the primary suppliers of information on the labor market and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That said, sources of ?big data? are becoming increasingly available through collaborations with private businesses engaged in commercial activities that record ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-005

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