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A Closer Look at the Correlation Between Google Trends and Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims

Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been growing interest in tracking labor market activity with “big data” sources like Google Trends.1 Just as an example, one can track how the number of Google searches with the term unemployment office has changed over the past week for the Chicago metro area or explore how unemployment became one of the top searched issues across the U.S. during the early months of the pandemic here.
Chicago Fed Insights

Working Paper
Financial Incentives, Hospital Care, and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Fair Pricing Laws

It is often assumed that financial incentives of healthcare providers affect the care they deliver, but this issue is surprisingly difficult to study. The recent enactment of state laws that limit how much hospitals can charge uninsured patients provide a unique opportunity. Using an event study framework and panel data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, we examine whether these regulations lead to reductions in the amount and quality of care given to uninsured patients. We find that the introduction of a fair pricing law leads to a seven to nine percent reduction in the average length of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-107

Journal Article
Nontraditional Insurance and Risks to Financial Stability

Do insurance companies pose a threat to financial stability? Historically, the answer has been no. But the insurance industry?s expansion into nontraditional activities has prompted reconsideration.
Economic Insights , Volume 3 , Issue 1 , Pages 18-25

Unintended Consequences of "Mandatory" Flood Insurance

We document that the quasi-mandatory U.S. flood insurance program reduces mortgage lending along both the extensive and intensive margins. We measure flood insurance mandates using FEMA flood maps, focusing on the discreet updates to these maps that can be made exogenous to true underlying flood risk. Reductions in lending are most pronounced for low-income and low-FICO borrowers, implying that the effects are at least partially driven by the added financial burden of insurance. Our results are also stronger among non-local or more-distant banks, who have a diminished ability to monitor local ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1012

Working Paper
Dissecting Idiosyncratic Earnings Risk

This paper examines whether nonlinear and non-Gaussian features of earnings dynamics are caused by hours or hourly wages. Our findings from the Norwegian administrative and survey data are as follows: (i) Nonlinear mean reversion in earnings is driven by the dynamics of hours worked rather than wages since wage dynamics are close to linear, while hours dynamics are nonlinear—negative changes to hours are transitory, while positive changes are persistent. (ii) Large earnings changes are driven equally by hours and wages, whereas small changes are associated mainly with wage shocks. (iii) ...
Working Papers , Paper 2022-024

Measuring the Climate Risk Exposure of Insurers

Insurance companies can be exposed to climate-related physical risk through their operations and to transition risk through their $12 trillion of financial asset holdings. We assess the climate risk exposure of property and casualty (P&C) and life insurance companies in the U.S. We construct a novel physical risk factor by forming a portfolio of P&C insurers’ stocks, with each insurer’s weight reflecting their operational exposure to states associated with high physical climate risk. We then estimate the dynamic physical climate beta, representing the stock return sensitivity of each ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1066

How Well Insured Are Older Americans?

Using a combination of survey and administrative data, we calculate the portion of medical expenditures that retirees pay out of pocket. We find that retirees are mostly well insured against medical spending risk, with over 80 percent of their spending covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other insurers. We also find, however, that individuals with extremely high medical expenses pay a larger — not smaller — share out of pocket than those with more average expenses. Much of this difference is attributable to nursing home stays, which are typically uncovered by most insurers.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Volume 23 , Issue 19

Discussion Paper
Moving Out of a Flood Zone? That May Be Risky!

An often-overlooked aspect of flood-plain mapping is the fact that these maps designate stark boundaries, with households falling either inside or outside of areas designated as “flood zones.” Households inside flood zones must insure themselves against the possibility of disasters. However, costly insurance may have pushed lower-income households out of areas officially designated a flood risk and into physically adjacent areas. While not designated an official flood risk, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and disaster data shows that these areas are still at considerable risk ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20230420b

Anxiety in the face of risk

We model an ?anxious? agent as one who is more risk averse with respect to imminent risks than with respect to distant risks. Based on a utility function that captures individual subjects? behavior in experiments, we provide a tractable theory relaxing the restriction of constant risk aversion across horizons and show that it generates rich implications. We first apply the model to insurance markets and explain the high premia for short-horizon insurance. Then, we show that costly delegated portfolio management, investment advice, and withdrawal fees emerge as endogenous features and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 610

How Much Risk Do Variable Annuity Guarantees Pose to Life Insurers?

Over the past two decades, guarantees that protect variable annuities? balances when their underlying investments perform poorly have become quite popular. Collectively, these guarantees can pose a sizable risk to life insurers. This article explores the different types of variable annuity guarantees, the extent of the risk they pose to insurers, and the practices used by insurers to mitigate against such risk.
Chicago Fed Letter


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Drexler, Alejandro 3 items

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