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Research Notes–October 2004

Featuring research published in September 2004

Macroeconomics

Shocks and Government Beliefs: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation
Working Paper 2004-22
Through research in this paper, the authors attribute the rise and fall of post-World War II inflation in the United States to an intricate interaction between the monetary authority’s beliefs and economic shocks.

Growing Part-Time Employment among Workers with Disabilities: Marginalization or Opportunity?
Economic Review 2004Q3
Part-time employment among disabled workers has increased over the past 20 years even as part-time work has declined among nondisabled workers. This article examines whether part-time work has become more attractive to disabled workers or if disabled workers are being pushed to the fringe in the workforce.

Dollar Up Modestly in August
In August the average monthly value for the trade-weighted dollar index of 15 major currencies tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta increased 0.1 percent.

Finance

Resolving Large Financial Intermediaries: Banks Versus Housing Enterprises
Working Paper 2004-23a
This paper examines policy issues with respect to resolving the possible failure of housing enterprises Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The authors compare and contrast these issues with those raised in the context of large bank failures and also identify important differences in the extant supervisory authorities.

Understanding 401(k) Plans
Working Paper 2004-21
Questions about the future of the Social Security system continue to surface. As a result, interest in employer-sponsored retirement plans and other retirement investment options increases. In this article, the authors explore the advantages and disadvantages of various defined benefit plans.

Analyzing Imputed Financial Data: A New Approach to Cluster Analysis
Working Paper 2004-20
The authors introduce a novel statistical modeling technique to cluster analysis and apply it to financial data. Their two main goals are to handle missing data and to find homogeneous groups within the data.

Modeling the Term Structure of Interest Rates: An Introduction
Economic Review 2004Q3
The author uses a widely applicable technique to solve a discrete-time model of the interest rate yield curve that takes into account the ongoing uncertainty about an asset’s price over time.

Reserve Banks Offer Products for Check 21 Rollout
Financial Update 2004Q3
As financial institutions prepare for the Oct. 28 launch of the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, Federal Reserve Banks have introduced a suite of products to ease the transition.

Bank Regulators Watch Real Estate Market Closely
Financial Update 2004Q3
As real estate loans have grown as a proportion of banks’ assets, bank regulators are keeping a wary eye on how rising interest rates will affect the real estate sector.