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Jel Classification:E2 

Discussion Paper
Central Bank Solvency and Inflation

The monetary base in the United States, defined as currency plus bank reserves, grew from about $800 billion in 2008 to $2 trillion in 2012, and to roughly $4 trillion at the end of 2014 (see chart below). Some commentators have viewed this increase in the monetary base as a sure harbinger of inflation. For example, one economist wrote that this “unprecedented expansion of the money supply could make the ’70s look benign.” These predictions of inflation rest on the monetarist argument that nominal income is proportional to the money supply. The fact that the money supply has expanded ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150401

Discussion Paper
Housing Returns in Big and Small Cities

Houses are the largest asset for most households in the United States, as is the case in many other countries as well. Within countries, there is substantial regional variation in house prices—compare real estate values in Manhattan, New York City, with those in Manhattan, Kansas, for example. But what about returns on investment? Are long-run returns on real estate investment—the sum of price appreciation and rental income flows—higher in superstar cities like New York than in the rest of the country? In this blog post, we present new and potentially surprising insights from research ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20220202

Discussion Paper
Discretionary Services Expenditures in This Business Cycle

The pronounced weakness in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for services has been an unusual feature of the 2007-09 recession and the slow recovery from it. Even in 2010:Q4, when real PCE increased at a relatively robust 4.1 percent annual rate, real PCE on services rose at only a 1.4 percent rate. This weakness has been especially evident in “discretionary” services (to be defined below), which fell more in the recent recession than in previous recessions and since have rebounded more sluggishly. In this post, I suggest that the continued sluggishness in these expenditures lends a ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110706

Discussion Paper
Hey, Economist! Tell Us about the New Applied Macroeconomics and Econometrics Center

Marco Del Negro is the director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s new research center, AMEC, which stands for the Applied Macroeconomics and Econometrics Center. Ahead of hosting its first symposium, “Heterogeneity in Macroeconomics: Implications for Policy,” Liberty Street Economics caught up with Del Negro to learn more about his vision for AMEC.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20211105

Working Paper
No Firm Is an Island? How Industry Conditions Shape Firms’ Expectations

We study how firms’ expectations and actions are affected by both aggregate and industry-specific conditions using a survey of French manufacturing firms. We document an important new stylized fact. In response to industry-level shocks that have no aggregate effects, firms’ aggregate expectations respond persistently. This is consistent with “island” models in which firms use the local prices they observe to make inferences about broader aggregate conditions. We then assess the extent to which these patterns are related to observable characteristics of firms and the industries in ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-17

Discussion Paper
Searching for Higher Wages

Since the peak of the recession, the unemployment rate has fallen by almost 5 percentage points, and observers continue to focus on whether and when this decline will lead to robust wage growth. Typically, in the wake of such a decline, real wages grow since there is more competition for workers among potential employers. While this relationship has historically been quite informative, real wage growth more recently has not been commensurate with observed declines in the unemployment rate.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150902

Working Paper
Income Volatility and Portfolio Choices

Based on administrative data from Statistics Norway, we find economically significant shifts in households' financial portfolios around structural breaks in income volatility. When the standard deviation of labor-income growth doubles, the share of risky assets decreases by 4 percentage points. We ask whether this estimated marginal effect is consistent with a standard model of portfolio choice with idiosyncratic volatility shocks. The standard model generates a much more aggressive portfolio response than we see in the data. We show that Bayesian learning about the underlying volatility ...
Working Paper , Paper 20-01

Discussion Paper
Developing a Narrative: the Great Recession and Its Aftermath

The severe recession experienced by the U.S. economy between December 2007 and June 2009 has given way to a disappointing recovery. It took three and a half years for GDP to return to its pre-recession peak, and by most accounts this broad measure of economic activity remains below trend today. What precipitated the U.S. economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression? And what headwinds are holding back the recovery? Are these headwinds permanent, calling for a revision of our assessment of the economy?s speed limit? Or are they transitory, although very long-lasting, as the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20140924

Discussion Paper
Lower Oil Prices and U.S. Economic Activity

After a period of stability, oil prices started to decline in mid-2015, and this downward trend continued into early 2016. As we noted in an earlier post, it is important to assess whether these price declines reflect demand shocks or supply shocks, since the two types of shocks have different implications for the U.S. economic outlook. In this post, we again use correlations of weekly oil price changes with a broad array of financial variables to quantify the drivers of oil price movements, finding that the decline since mid-2015 is due to a mix of weaker demand and increased supply. Given ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160503b

Discussion Paper
“Excess Savings” Are Not Excessive

How will the U.S. economy emerge from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Will it struggle to return to prior levels of employment and activity, or will it come roaring back as soon as vaccinations are widespread and Americans feel comfortable travelling and eating out? Part of the answer to these questions hinges on what will happen to the large amount of “excess savings” that U.S. households have accumulated since last March. According to most estimates, these savings are around $1.6 trillion and counting. Some economists have expressed the concern that, if a considerable fraction of these ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210405a

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