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Research Notes–September 2005

Featuring research published in August 2005

Macroeconomics

Health Insurance and Tax Policy
Working Paper 2005-14
Investigating alternatives to U.S. tax policy on health insurance, the authors find that removing employers’ subsidy on group insurance results in reduced insurance coverage and serious welfare deterioration.

Housing and the Macroeconomy: The Role of Implicit Guarantees for Government-Sponsored Enterprises
Working Paper 2005-15
The authors study the economic effects of the government’s subsidy of owner-occupied housing and find that the subsidy leads to higher mortgage default rates and lower welfare, among other effects.

The Big Problem of Large Bills: The Bank of Amsterdam and the Origins of Central Banking
Working Paper 2005-16
The authors present a model of the first true central bank, the Bank of Amsterdam, and describe how it was able to control inflation in the Netherlands in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Credit and Identity Theft
Working Paper 2005-19
Examining the advantages and disadvantages of payment systems such as credit cards, the authors explore how transaction fraud may arise in such systems. They explain how the systems’ advantages outweigh their disadvantages.

Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Sensitivity Analysis
Working Paper 2005-20
Reevaluating the capital-skill complementarity hypothesis, the authors show that its fit is very sensitive to the definition of the price of capital equipment.

Housing, Portfolio Choice, and the Macroeconomy
Working Paper 2005-21
The author analyzes portfolio choice between housing and equity holdings in a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents. Effects of aggregate shocks on the portfolio composition affect mostly the younger age groups.

Dollar Appreciated Slightly in July for the Fourth Straight Month
In July the average monthly value for the trade-weighted dollar index of 15 major currencies tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta increased 0.5 percent.

Finance

Social Security Private Accounts: A Risky Proposition?
Economic Review Q3 2005
Private accounts have been proposed as part of the solution to Social Security’s looming funding problems. This article discusses what private accounts can and cannot do for individuals and for future Social Security deficits.

When the Shoe Is on the Other Foot: Experimental Evidence on Evaluation Disparities
Working Paper 2005-17
Examining the differences between what people expect to pay for an item and what they would sell that item for, the authors find that decision makers consider their earnings relative to other people’s in valuing transactions.

Regional Economics

What’s Up with the Decline in Female Labor Force Participation?
Working Paper 2005-18
A weak labor market and education’s weaker pull into the labor market were major contributors to declining labor force participation among women ages 25–54 between 2000 and 2004, the author finds.