LONDON | By Michael Gapen at Barclays | Persistent improvement in US labor markets has caused the Fed to continue tapering and to alter its quantitative policy rate guidance in favor of qualitative language indicating that the committee is prepared to maintain the current target rate for the federal funds rate for “a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal.”
SAO PAULO | By Marcus Nunes via Historinhas | The Fed’s (and central banks in general) preferred tactic is “wait-and-see”, usually expressed in the form of “we will monitor closely”! Instead of becoming a focal point for the coordination of expectations, inflation has become a barrier to getting the economy’s recovery back on track.
SAO PAULO | By Marcus Nunes | There is a significant difference between the discourse formulated by Ms. Yellen and the one formulated by Feldstein. While the first talks about a “suffering economy,” the second insists on being preoccupied about the future of inflation.
SAO PAULO | By Marcus Nunes | In “Mind the (spending) gap,” Atif Mian and Amir Sufi of Princeton and Chicago, respectively, are on the right track but go about it the wrong way and so arrive at a wrong conclusion. They wonder: We all know that households cut back on spending dramatically during the Great Recession. Are they spending now? Has spending caught up to the trend the United States was on before?
SAO PAULO | By Marcus Nunes | David Andolfatto has an interesting take: “The question is this: Would you expect the labor market in the U.S. border states to look more like the Canadian labor market or more like the U.S. labor market?”
WASHINGTON | By Pablo Pardo | Federal Reserve’s Beige Book is like a breeze of fresh air for those who think that economic analysis relies too much on data and math. The famous Book is made just by using non-systematic, non-quantitative inputs. Maybe that is not too effective to estimate until the last decimal the future evolution of the GDP deflator, but it is extremely precise to determine the current state of affairs of the economy.
SAO PAULO | By Marcus Nunes | The strong counteracting monetary policy response to permanent Social Security benefit increases likely explains why their effects were relatively short-lasting and did not spread to broader economic indicators, say Christy and David Romer.
NEW YORK | By Robert Johnson via Next New Deal | The pensions crisis has far-reaching implications for the future of the U.S. economy: the state and local government sector is about 14 percent of the American workforce. What broke the system, and how do we fix it? Beyond the economic crisis, which put enormous pressure on state and municipal budgets, poor decision-making and the influence of big money interests has led to the underfunding of some state and city public pensions.
SAO PAOLO | By Marcus Nunes | In his recent post at Econlog Scott Sumner writes “Questions that have no answers”: There are some questions that have no answers. One example is the question: “Was monetary policy too expansionary during the housing boom?” The only sensible answer is “it depends.” It’s not clear what the Fed was trying to do during this period.
LONDON | By Joseph Abate at Barclays | For a global 21st century economy, there is a surprising amount of US paper currency circulating. Total US currency outstanding is approximately $1.2trn, which on a per capita basis works out to $3,800.