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Economic Newsletter

Falling Oil Prices Create Winners and Losers

Oil prices affect the U.S. economy in many ways. For example, fluctuations in the price of oil can influence inflation, unemployment, and disposable income. Some local economies with close ties to the oil industry, however, are affected even more directly in both positive and negative ways. This...

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From Coins to Big Bucks: The Evolution of General-Purpose Reloadable Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards were invented to solve a problem: replacing coin usage in pay telephones. Since then, prepaid cards have evolved into a huge competitive market for general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards. Read more about GPR prepaid cards in the inaugural edition of Page One Economics Focus on...

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Is a Strong Dollar Better than a Weak Dollar?

“Strong” is usually preferred over “weak.” But for the value of a country’s currency, it’s not that simple. “Strong” isn’t always better, and...

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Would a Gold Standard Brighten Economic Outcomes?

Historically, money was made of either valuable commodities such as gold or silver coins or pieces of paper (bills) representing these commodities. The United States severed its last official monetary link to gold in 1971. The January 2015 Page One Economics Newsletter describes some of the...

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Smoothing the Path: Balancing Debt, Income, and Saving for the Future

The life cycle model shows that saving for the future requires people to limit consumption during their working years and save so they will have a “nest egg” to draw on during retirement. Recent changes in how people save for retirement have shifted some responsibility from firms to...

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Economics and the Environment

How are economics and the environment related? The quick answer is that environmental quality is a worthy goal, but there is an economic trade-off -- a clean environment does not come without costs. The September 2014 Page One Economics article, "Economics and the Environment", provides...

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The Economics of Immigration: A Story of Substitutes and Complements

America is a nation of immigrants, who currently make up about 13 percent of the overall population. The May 2014 issue of the Page One Economics Newsletter shows how immigration affects the average American. The essay weighs the costs and benefits of immigration and discusses the concept of...

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Would Increasing the Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty?

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office tackles that question in a new report and highlights the trade-off presented by increasing the minimum wage. This issue of the newsletter explains the debate and discusses whether other approaches may be more effective in helping alleviate poverty.

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The Rising Cost of College: Tuition, Financial Aid, and Price Discrimination

The cost of a college education seems to be skyrocketing—but is it really? Learn about the concept of price discrimination and how it affects college costs.

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The Global Economy: It's a Small World After All

To understand why people trade, suppose you were limited to consuming only items you could find within walking distance of your house. Or, perhaps even worse, only items you could produce yourself. For most of us, this restriction would severely diminish the variety of goods and services we enjoy...

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Why Scarce Resources Are Sometimes Unemployed

The unemployment rate always seems to be in the news, but did you know there are different kinds of unemployment? There is the natural rate of unemployment; cyclical, frictional, and structural unemployment; plus underemployment. Read the October 2013  Page One Economics Newsletter, “Why...

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What Are the "Ingredients" for Economic Growth?

Is there a recipe for economic growth? Perhaps some Miracle-Gro for the economy? If only it were that easy. While the exact recipe is a mystery, economists have identified some of the key ingredients. This month’s newsletter discusses the role that economic institutions play in fostering...

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Definition of the Week

General-purpose Reloadable (GPR) Prepaid Card:
A prepaid card that is branded as a “general-purpose” reloadable (GPR) card. A prepaid GPR card allows consumers to reload the card with additional funds and even set up direct deposits to the card.

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What's New

Apr 16, 2015
Page One Economics® from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will now be now be published 9 times a year. The Page One Economics® essays will be published in January, March, May, September, and November; and the new edition entitled Page One Economics® Focus on Finance, will be published in February, April, October, and December. All the essays will continue to provide informative, accessible content on economic and personal finance topics. The essays are written by our economic education specialists, who also write the accompanying lesson plans.

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Related Reading

Apr 16, 2015
By Susan Herbst-Murphy, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and Greg Weed, Phoenix Marketing International
Discussion Paper, Payment Card Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, September 2014.

Almost since their introduction to the marketplace, general-purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards have been perceived as a product for lower-income and unbanked individuals. But in fact, research fielded in August 2013 by market research firm Phoenix Marketing International (Phoenix) found a strong and growing adoption of GPR among middle- and higher-income and high-net-worth households.

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The labor force participation rate for native-born workers in March 2014 is 63.2%, while the labor force participation rate for foreign born is 66.1%.

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