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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta  Series:Policy Hub 

Discussion Paper
Evaluating the Benefits of a Streamlined Refinance Program

Mortgage borrowers who have experienced employment disruptions as a result of theCOVID-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 2020-8

Discussion Paper
Financial Stability and the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Atlanta Fed recently helped organize a conference titled "Financial Stability and the Coronavirus Pandemic." The conference had three sessions devoted to problems focusing on various aspects of how the markets for corporate credits responded to the COVID-19 shock including corporate bond investment funds, the corporate bond market, and the corporate loan market. This article summarizes some of the important findings of the papers presented at the conference.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-13

Discussion Paper
Racial Differences in Mortgage Refinancing, Distress, and Housing Wealth Accumulation during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic was characterized by both high refinancing volumes and high rates of mortgage nonpayment. Refinancing activity differed significantly across racial and ethnic groups, and we show that the benefits from the lower interest rate environment were not shared equally. Compared to white borrowers, Black and Hispanic mortgage borrowers experienced higher rates of nonpayment, which reflected both a greater transition into nonpayment status for Black and Hispanic borrowers and a lower likelihood of resuming payments. However, strong house price appreciation in recent years, ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2021-06

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
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
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
Consumer Behavior in a Health Crisis: What Happened with Cash?

In the United States, COVID-19 cases and currency in circulation both surged in March 2020. Did consumer choice play a role in the increase in currency in circulation? With fewer opportunities to shop and pay in person, why would consumers hold more cash? Data from the fall 2019 Survey and Diary of Consumer Payment Choice and interim rapid-response surveys in spring and late summer 2020 give some insights into consumer cash holdings and payments behavior.
Policy Hub , Paper 2021-1

Discussion Paper
Wage Pressures in the Labor Market: What Do They Say?

Wage pressures among the newly employed in low-wage service occupations appear to be the result of normal economic forces, likely reflecting demand surges for—and a reluctant supply of—workers in occupations particularly hard hit by pandemic-induced economic shutdowns.
Policy Hub , Paper 2021-05

Discussion Paper
Where There's Smoke...: The Wage Impact of Smoking

Cigarette smokers earn significantly less than nonsmokers, but the magnitude of the smoking wage gap and the pathways by which it originates are unclear. While most research focuses on contemporaneous reasons for the wage differential, the research described in this Policy Hub article finds that decisions made early in life—about education, labor force participation, and occupation—contribute significantly to the wage penalty smokers face later, especially for men. Women are found to be judged more harshly by their current employers for their smoking behavior, and since quitting smoking ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-11

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, afteran unemployment spell, older workers and those without a college degree experience lower wage growth. 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 2020-9

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