Lessons from resurgent cities
In 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston began a project to help reinvigorate the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. This cross-departmental initiative uses the Boston Fed's research and convening capabilities to complement the efforts of other organizations dedicated to improving economic and social conditions in New England's fourth-largest city. As noted in an earlier joint Federal Reserve-Brookings Institution study, Springfield has one of the highest rates of concentrated poverty in the country: one-third of the city's poor live in neighborhoods where poverty rates exceed 40 percent. ...
Trade and growth in New England
From the time when New England timber built the British navy and Salem boys sailed ginseng root to China and returned as wealthy men, New England?s growth has been tightly linked with international trade. The ties are no less compelling today. Trade raises living standards by promoting the efficient use of resources and encouraging the adoption of new technologies and productivity improvements. New England is a region that specializes in new technologies, a region with limited natural resources, and trade is essential to its future well-being. However, like technological change, increased ...
Our Changing Environment, The Payments Evolution, New Approaches to Education, Managing Risk, An Economy Transformed
Living beyond our means
Both the current account deficit and the federal fiscal deficit are symptoms of living beyond our means. In this essay, we first provide the basic conceptual background, starting with some elements of national income accounting. We show how the two deficits are related to each other, and how they may be affected by public policy and private actions that impact economic behavior. We then cover the facts about the two deficits--their magnitude and their recent history. Next comes the question of sustainability and the long term consequences of the deficits. We conclude with an overview of the ...
Systemic supervision: a necessity of financial modernization
The world of financial services has changed rapidly in the past decade. The recent pace of innovation suggests that change could, if anything, accelerate in the coming years. Such an environment poses difficult challenges for financial industry supervisors, especially in addressing threats to the over-all stability of the financial system. Financial supervision in the United States has evolved in recent years to keep pace, but the coming, new environment may require an approach to supervision that more explicitly monitors the health of the financial system as a whole.
One view of what the future holds for New England
After a decade of truly remarkable growth, the New England economy has weakened. Employment fell in 1989 and the unemployment rate increased. Further weakening seems to have occurred in the early months of 1990. New England continues to compare favorably with the nation according to such common indicators as the unemployment rate and per capita income, but recent developments suggest that the region is returning to a more normal relationship with the rest of the country. This transition is proving to be quite painful for some sectors of the economy, resulting in a high degree of confusion and ...
Building communities: making a difference
One of the most vexing economic problems facing the United States has been the persistence of pockets of poverty in the midst of prosperity. The reasons for this are many and complex. Prominent among them are economic isolation in the case of rural areas, and language and cultural barriers in the case of many inner-city communities. Discrimination has played a role, but so too has simple ignorance. Resources and opportunities exist in these communities, but getting the recognition from market sources necessary to leverage these assets is difficult. For whatever reason, human and physical ...
Small steps in the right direction?: restructuring public education
When the term "knowledge-based economy" first entered popular discussion - sometime around the early 1980s - the focus was exclusively on scientific, technological, and business leadership. Only gradually did our society come to appreciate the pervasiveness of the knowledge-based economy. It affects not just the demand for high-level technical and entrepreneurial talent but, indeed, the job requirements for virtually all types of work. This growing realization has laid the foundation for broad-scale reforms of education in the United States and many other nations.
Reforming the U. S. health care system: where there's a will, there could be a way
The essay in the 2005 annual report summarizes the themes and consensus-based prescriptions for action that emerged from the Boston Fed's 50th economic conference, Wanting It All: The Challenge of Reforming the U.S. Health Care System, held in June 2005.