Liberty Street Economics
Liberty Street Economics
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June 01, 2018

Hey, Economist! Outgoing New York Fed President Bill Dudley on FOMC Preparation and Thinking Like an Economist

LSE_2018.06.01-LSE-Dudley_920x576

Bill Dudley will soon turn over the keys to the vault—so to speak. But before his tenure ends after nine years as president of the New York Fed, Liberty Street Economics sought to capture his parting reflections on economic research, FOMC preparation, and leadership. Publications editor Trevor Delaney recently caught up with Dudley. This transcript has been lightly edited.

May 30, 2018

Good News, Leverage, and Sudden Stops



LSE_Good News, Leverage, and Sudden Stops


One of the major debates in open economy macroeconomics is the extent to which capital inflows are beneficial for growth. In principle, these flows allow countries to increase their consumption and investment spending beyond their income by enabling them to tap into foreign saving. Periods of such borrowing, however, are associated with large trade deficits, external debt accumulation, and, in some cases, overheating when these economies operate beyond their potential output level for an extended period of time. The relevant question in this context is whether the rate at which a country is taking on external debt has useful predictive information about financial crises.

May 23, 2018

Mixed Impacts of the Federal Tax Reform on Consumer Expectations



LSE_Mixed Impacts of the Federal Tax Reform on Consumer Expectations


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed the tax brackets, tax rates, credits and deductions for individuals and similarly altered corporate tax rates, deductions and exclusions. In this post, we examine whether the reform has shifted individuals’ expectations about their financial situation and the macroeconomic outlook. We also ask whether households have already started to adjust their behavior in line with their expectations. In order to answer these questions, we use novel data from a special module of the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) fielded in February 2018 to a nationally representative sample of heads of households.

May 21, 2018

Economic Predictions with Big Data: The Illusion of Sparsity



LSE_Economic Predictions with Big Data: The Illusion of Sparsity

The availability of large data sets, combined with advances in the fields of statistics, machine learning, and econometrics, have generated interest in forecasting models that include many possible predictive variables. Are economic data sufficiently informative to warrant selecting a handful of the most useful predictors from this larger pool of variables? This post documents that they usually are not, based on applications in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and finance.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Forecasting | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

May 17, 2018

Just Released: New York Fed Press Briefing Highlights Changes in Home Equity and How It’s Used



LSE_2018_Just Released: New York Fed Press Briefing Highlights Changes in Home Equity and How It’s Used

At a press briefing this morning, economists at the New York Fed focused on the evolution of housing wealth and its use as collateral. Their comments came in connection with the Center for Microeconomic Data’s release of its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the first quarter of this year. The briefing opened with remarks from Director of Research Beverly Hirtle, who described the importance of housing wealth and how it has evolved since 2000. Bank economists then explored the data on housing wealth more deeply in this presentation, which includes three parts: (1) an overview of recent developments on household balance sheets, with a focus on housing values and mortgage debt; (2) a discussion of how housing wealth has changed over time and how it is distributed across households; and (3) facts on the changing nature of how households have used their home equity.

May 14, 2018

Recycling Oil Revenue



LSE_Recycling Oil Revenue

Almost half the U.S. merchandise trade deficit was tied to petroleum ten years ago. Oil prices were above $100 a barrel, the economy was doing well enough that oil consumption was growing despite high oil prices, and domestic oil production was falling. The U.S. petroleum trade balance has since narrowed substantially from $400 billion in 2008 to under $65 billion in 2017 as a result of lower oil prices, higher domestic production, and a prolonged period of flat-to-falling petroleum consumption. Going forward, the changes in domestic production and consumption have significantly moderated the impact of oil prices on the petroleum trade deficit. That is, changes in oil prices are increasingly redirecting income between domestic consumers and producers rather than between U.S. consumers and foreign oil producers.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

May 09, 2018

Forecasts of the Lost Recovery



The years following the Great Recession were challenging for forecasters for a variety of reasons, including an unprecedented policy environment. This post, based on our recently released working paper, documents the real-time forecasting performance of the New York Fed dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model in the wake of the Great Recession. We show that the model’s predictive accuracy was on par with that of private forecasters and proved to be quite a bit better, at least in terms of GDP growth, than that of the median forecasts from the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) Summary of Economic Projections (SEP).

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in DSGE , Forecasting | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

May 07, 2018

Have the Biggest U.S. Banks Become Less Complex?



LSE_Have the Biggest U.S. Banks Become Less Complex?0

The global financial crisis, and the ensuing Dodd-Frank Act, identified size and complexity as determinants of banks’ systemic importance, increasing the potential risks to financial stability. While it’s known that big banks haven’t shrunk, the question that remains is: have they simplified? In this post, we show that while the largest U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) have somewhat simplified their organizational structures, they remain very complex. The industries spanned by entities within the BHCs have shifted more than they have declined, and the countries in which some large BHCs have entities still include numerous “secrecy” or tax-haven locations.

April 20, 2018

Just Released: The New York Fed Staff Forecast—April 2018



Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is hosting the spring meeting of its Economic Advisory Panel (EAP). As has become the custom at this meeting, the New York Fed’s Research staff is presenting its forecast for U.S. growth, inflation, and the unemployment rate. Following the presentation, members of the EAP, which consists of leading economists in academia and the private sector, are asked to critique the staff forecast. Such feedback helps the staff evaluate the assumptions and reasoning underlying its forecast as well as the forecast’s key risks. The feedback is also an important part of the forecasting process because it informs the staff’s discussions with New York Fed President William Dudley about economic conditions. In that same spirit, we are sharing a short summary of the staff forecast in this post; for more detail, see the New York Fed Staff Outlook Presentation from the EAP meeting on our website.

Posted by Blog Author at 10:30 AM in Forecasting , Macroecon | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

April 19, 2018

Will New Steel Tariffs Protect U.S. Jobs?



LSE_Will New Steel Tariffs Protect U.S. Jobs?

President Trump announced a new tariff of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports on March 8, 2018. One objective of these tariffs is to protect jobs in the U.S. steel industry. They were introduced under a rarely used 1962 Act, which allows the government to impose trade barriers for national security reasons. Although the tariffs were initially to apply to all trading partners, Canada and Mexico are currently exempt subject to NAFTA negotiations, and implementation of the tariffs for the European Union, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil has been paused. South Korea has received a permanent exemption from the steel tariffs and will instead be subject to a quota of 70 percent of its current average steel exports to the United States. In this post, we consider how the steel tariffs could affect U.S. trade and employment. We focus on steel since the steel industry employs about three times as many workers as the aluminum industry, although qualitatively our conclusions apply to both. We argue that the new tariffs are likely to lead to a net loss in U.S. employment, at least in the short to medium run.

About the Blog
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.


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The LSE editors ask authors submitting a post to the blog to confirm that they have no conflicts of interest as defined by the American Economic Association in its Disclosure Policy. If an author has sources of financial support or other interests that could be perceived as influencing the research presented in the post, we disclose that fact in a statement prepared by the author and appended to the author information at the end of the post. If the author has no such interests to disclose, no statement is provided. Note, however, that we do indicate in all cases if a data vendor or other party has a right to review a post.
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