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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas  Series:Economic and Financial Policy Review 

Journal Article
The federal funds rate as an indicator of monetary policy: evidence from the 1980s

Recently, several economists have argued that movements in the federal funds rate are a good proxy for changes in monetary policy. In this article, Nathan Balke and Kenneth Emery critically examine this view and the evidence supporting it. Using simple vector autoregressions, they find that before 1980 the correlations between the federal funds rate and other important macroeconomic variables are consistent with a traditional monetary policy interpretation of the federal funds rate. However, they show that after 1982 the relationships between the federal funds rate and other macroeconomic ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q I , Pages 1-15

Journal Article
Demographics and the long-term outlook for housing investment

John Hill and D'Ann Petersen measure the importance of projected shifts in the size and age distribution of the U.S. population for domestic housing investment. Their analysis runs through the year 2010 and provides separate estimates for single-family and multifamily investment. ; Hill and Petersen find that the contractionary effects of the population slowdown are already being felt in the housing industry and probably have been since the latter part of the 1980s. In Hill and Petersen's simulations, demographic shifts lower net housing investment by 17 percent from the late 1980s through ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q I , Pages 17-25

Journal Article
A primer on the nature of business cycles

Discussions of the effects of monetary and fiscal policy sometimes center on the impact of such policies in ameliorating fluctuations associated with the business cycle. However, though familiar with the term "business cycle," many people are not aware of what it refers to exactly. In this article, Gregory Huffman presents an explanation of the term and provides a detailed illustration of post-World War II U.S. business cycles. He also contrasts the behavior of various U.S. economic time series over the business cycle with similar Canadian statistics and points out some apparent anomalies ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q I , Pages 27-41

Journal Article
The saving grace

Many economists agree that a country's rate of saving can be a key factor in the growth rate and living standards the country achieves. Analysts are less certain about which factors have positive and negative influences on saving, what role government should have in creating a better environment for saving, and the extent to which a country can offset the effects of low domestic saving by tapping into other countries' savings. ; Economists, bankers, and officials discussed these and other aspects of saving earlier this year at a symposium sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 43-52

Journal Article
The consumer price index

The consumer price index (CPI) is probably the most closely watched indicator of inflation in the U.S. economy. In this article, Mark Wynne and Fiona Sigalla explain the construction of the CPI and evaluate some of its potential shortcomings as a measure of inflation. Specifically, they examine the discrepancies that arise between the CPI and the true cost- of-living index as a result of improvements in the quality of goods, the introduction of new goods, substitution on the part of consumers between different goods and retail outlets, and the difficulty of measuring the prices actually paid ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q II , Pages 1-22

Journal Article
Solving the mystery of the disappearing January blip in state employment data

Frank Berger and Keith Phillips propose a new two-step method of seasonally adjusting state Current Employment Statistics (CES) data produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This method, first proposed in the July/August 1993 issue of Southwest Economy, recently was adopted by the BLS to seasonally adjust the broadest industry groupings of the state employment series. With this new adjustment procedure, the state employment data should be smoother and better reflect trend-cycle movements than if a more traditional seasonal adjustment method were used. ; The article finds that ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q II , Pages 53-62

Journal Article
An economy at risk? The social costs of school inefficiency

A preponderance of economic evidence demonstrates that the public school system in the United States is less efficient than it could be. However, few researchers have examined the economic consequences of such inefficiency. Lori Taylor finds that, although school inefficiency can crowd out consumption and investment in the remainder of the economy and can reduce the rate of return to investments in education, inefficiency has only a limited impact on economic activity. She estimates that, even compounded over twenty-five years, plausible degrees of school inefficiency reduce consumption and ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 1-13

Journal Article
GATT and the new protectionism

The Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is the first agreement of its kind that reduces or eliminates tariffs on many goods and addresses issues related to intellectual property rights, trade in services and agricultural subsidies. With good reason, it has generated much optimism about the future of free world trade. ; But does GATT's trade liberalization today mean that trade will remain liberalized tomorrow? Increasingly, governments are counteracting the perceived unfair trade practices of other nations with their own trade barriers. While concerns about ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q III , Pages 29-42

Journal Article
Would the addition of bond or equity funds make M2 a better indicator of nominal GDP?

John Duca assesses the possibility that adding bond mutual funds, equity mutual funds, or both to M2 would improve this monetary aggregate's ability to forecast nominal GDP growth. He finds that M2B (M2 plus bond funds) and M2+ (M2 plus bond and stock funds) are statistically significant in explaining past nominal GDP growth. Duca further shows that M2B and M2+ each yield better forecasts of nominal GDP growth since 1990 than does M2, but to a lesser extent when the federal funds rate and the ten-year Treasury note yield are included in his forecasting model. Because bond and equity mutual ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q IV , Pages 1-14

Journal Article
Understanding the price puzzle

Recent developments in measuring the stance of monetary policy have highlighted an interesting puzzle--namely, that an unexpected tightening in monetary policy leads to an increase rather than a decrease in the price level. In this article, Nathan Balke and Kenneth Emery present evidence on the price puzzle and discuss possible explanations for it. ; Balke and Emery find that the most plausible explanation is that, during the 1960s and '70s, monetary policy was not implemented in a way that fully offset inflationary supply shocks. During this period, monetary policy would tighten in response ...
Economic and Financial Policy Review , Issue Q IV , Pages 15-26




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