A proposal to help distressed homeowners: a government payment-sharing plan
This public policy brief presents a proposal, originally posted on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in January of this year, designed to help homeowners who are unable to afford mortgage payments on their principal residence because they have suffered a significant income disruption and because the balance owed on their mortgage exceeds the value of their home. These homeowners represent a subset of the population of distressed homeowners, but according to our research they face an elevated risk of default and are unlikely to be helped by current foreclosure-reduction ...
A principal components approach to estimating labor market pressure and its implications for inflation
We build a summary measure of labor market pressure that captures the common movement among a variety of labor market series. Obtained as the labor market series? first principal component, this measure explains a large portion of the variability of the underlying series. For this reason, it is a good summary indicator of labor market pressure. We show that the unemployment rate gap has tracked this summary measure closely over the past 35 years. At times, however, the summary measure and the unemployment rate gap have sent somewhat different signals. In terms of relying on the principal ...
U.S. household deleveraging: what do the aggregate and household-level data tell us?
Deleveraging is the process by which households decide that their level of debt is inconsistent with their revised economic outlook and adjust their leverage accordingly, primarily by substituting debt repayment for consumption. Household deleveraging is a commonly cited reason for the sluggish consumption growth experienced during the current economic recovery from the Great Recession. This policy brief analyzes the impact of household debt repayment on consumer spending during and after the Great Recession by using aggregate and household-level data. Overall, the data show little evidence ...
Do foreclosures affect Boston public school student academic performance?
Foreclosures have well-documented adverse consequences for families living in or owning properties undergoing foreclosure and on surrounding neighborhoods, but they may also have other costs. This policy brief summarizes our research on the impact of mortgage foreclosures on academic performance among Boston public school students. The data show that students who live at an address that experiences a foreclosure tend to score substantially lower on standardized tests (math and English) and also have substantially worse attendance. However, if we account for the influence of student ...
The role of expectations and output in the inflation process: an empirical assessment
This brief examines two issues of current interest concerning inflation: (1) whether "well-anchored" expectations will help to restrain inflation's decline and whether an "un-anchoring" of expectations could lead to undesirably high inflation and (2) to what extent output (or utilization) gaps are useful components of empirical models of inflation and, if they are useful, to what extent current gaps might counterbalance the effect of expectations on inflation. The goals of conducting this examination are to articulate a reasonably coherent framework for the discussion, highlight the ...
Inflation targeting: central bank practice overseas
This policy brief, which is based on an internal memo, summarizes the institutional and operational features observed in the 27 countries that have gained experience with inflation targeting (IT). It finds considerable convergence in many IT practices across countries over the past 10 to 15 years but much variation in policymakers? choices concerning such key issues as how they treat the borders of the target range. On the whole, most IT banks have chosen to practice inflation targeting in a more flexible and, thus, resilient fashion than many analysts once feared?seemingly without much loss ...
Long-term inequality and mobility
This brief investigates the mobility and income situation of family heads and spouses who have low long-term incomes, where long-term refers to average family income over a 10-year period. The data show that most of those in the poorest one-fifth of the long-term income distribution during the 1996?2006 period spent all or nearly all of the period?s years in the poorest fifth of the single-year income distribution, and those who escaped did not move far. Moreover, this situation has worsened over time, with the long-term poor more ?stuck? at the bottom in the 1996-2006 period than they were ...
Massachusetts employment growth 1996–2006: effects of industry performance and industry composition
This brief examines the effects of industry performance and industry composition on overall changes in Massachusetts employment in the period 1996 to 2006. Through 2000, Massachusetts enjoyed strong economic expansion. Around the time of the nationwide recession of 2001, however, the Massachusetts economy experienced a relatively severe setback, and the state has yet to regain as many jobs in the ensuing expansion as it lost in the downturn. ; The study finds that Massachusetts industries generally experienced slower employment growth than their national counterparts in the early 2000s. The ...
Potential effects of an increase in debit card fees
Recently announced changes to debit card interchange fees could lead to an increase in the cost of debit cards to consumers. This brief analyzes the potential effects of an increase in debit card fees or in bank account fees by using the results of the 2008 and 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC). The main findings are that: 1) consumers with the least amount of education (less than a high school diploma), the lowest annual income (below $25,000), and the youngest age (under 25 years) consider cost to be the most important payment characteristic. It is probable that these consumers ...
The federal fiscal outlook
This Public Policy Brief presents recent forecasts of the U.S. federal government deficits and publicly held federal debt, along with brief commentary by economic research staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It is based on materials presented in an internal policy briefing on April 29, 2004. Contributors to this brief include Radoslav Raykov and Robert Triest. Views expressed in this brief do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve System.