Marketization of Home Production and Gender Gaps in Working Hours
Gender gaps in working hours vary widely across member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This article summarizes the key results from Duval-Hernández, Fang, and Ngai (2021), who study the source of cross-country differences and what kind of policies can reduce the gap in working hours between women and men.
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 ...
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 ...
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.
Bank Supervisory Goals versus Monetary Policy Implementation
The global financial crisis of 2007–09 revealed substantial weaknesses in large banks' capital adequacy and liquidity. Bank regulators responded with a variety of prudential measures intended to strengthen both. However, these prudential measures resulted in conflicts with the implementation of monetary policy that helped alter the way the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy. I review three such conflicts: regulation inhibiting interest on excess reserves arbitrage starting in 2008, regulation inhibiting banks' operations in the repo market in 2019, and regulation inhibiting their ...
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.
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 ...
Remittances and COVID-19: A Tale of Two Countries
Looking at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers' remittances flowing from the United States, this article focuses on the experiences of two countries, El Salvador and Mexico, which account for approximately 30 percent of all immigrants currently residing in the United States. Following the second quarter's economic lockdown, transfers to these countries experienced perplexing dynamics. Specifically, remittances to El Salvador witnessed a record 40 percent sudden drop, while Mexico recorded an unexpected 35 percent increase. We discuss some of the narratives proposed to explain this ...
Assisting Firms during a Crisis: Benefits and Costs
Public and private efforts to reduce COVID-19 infection levels have led to a sharp drop in economic activity around the world. In an attempt to mitigate the damage to businesses, governments around the world have implemented a variety of financial programs to help firms. These programs have been criticized as interfering with markets, providing bailouts, and creating adverse incentives. In this article, I review both the rationale for government-provided assistance and the costs of providing that assistance from the perspective of how that aid effects the likely level and volatility of ...
Central Banks, Global Shocks, and Local Crises: Lessons from the Atlanta Fed's Response to the 1920–21 Recession
During late 1920, the president (then called "governor") and board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta were confronted with an unexpected, devastating collapse in the price of a commodity whose global production was concentrated in their district—cotton. Their judgment was that the fall in cotton prices was temporary and that its effects could be lessened with generous credit policies that did not conflict with the Federal Reserve Act. Other officials within the Federal Reserve System did not agree with this judgment, however, leading to a contentious policy debate and an ...