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Economic Synopses

Short essays on the economic issues of the day written for a generally informed readership.

2014, No. 9

Accounting for Discouraged Workers in the Unemployment Rate

We construct a new measure of the unemployment rate based on a plausible assumption that some, but not all, of the discouraged workers reenter the labor force.


2014, No. 8

Are Virtual “Currencies” Likely to Succeed?

The continued use of a currency depends on the stability of its value and the existence of alternatives for achieving final settlement.


2014, No. 7

Labor Market Update

There has been a significant and steady drop in the unemployment rate since late 2009, but unemployment duration remains high and employment as a percentage of the working-age population has not recovered.


2014, No. 6

Discouraged Workers: What Do We Know?

The number of discouraged workers is small relative to the rest of the working-age population, and most discouraged workers do not stay in that category too long.


2014, No. 5

The Deleveraging of U.S. Households Since the Financial Crisis

While households decreased credit card debt between 2007 and 2010, the process varied by education level between the extensive margin (how many households borrowed) and the intensive margin (how much households borrowed).


2014, No. 4

Currency Returns During the Financial Crisis and Great Recession

The volume and volatility of international capital flows have motivated recent interest in the optimal use of capital controls and the communication and coordination among central banks.


2014, No. 3

Has QE Been Effective?

Longer-term yields declined by relatively large amounts on days when the FOMC made specific QE announcements. However, the objective of QE has been to reduce long-term yields beyond the levels they would have reached without QE.


2014, No. 2

Lessons from the Taper Tantrum

Since November 2008, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has been using bond purchases to reduce long-term interest rates to support housing markets, employment, and real activity. The FOMC has varied these large-scale asset purchases—commonly called quantitative easing (QE)—with the perceived state of the economy. Its most recent incarnation of QE, QE3, announced in two phases (September 13 and December 12, 2012), committed the Fed to monthly purchases of $85 billion in bonds.


2014, No. 1

Quantitative Easing in Japan: Past and Present

Inflation expectations in Japan have recently risen above their historical average.


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