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Research Notes–January 2005

Featuring research published in December 2004

Macroeconomics

Human Capital and Economic Development
Working Paper 2004-34
The author examines the relationship between young adult mortality and human capital accumulation. Cross-country data reveal that rising schooling levels reduce young adult mortality, bring demographic changes, and prompt industrial revolution.

Dollar Slide Continues in November
In November the average monthly value for the trade-weighted dollar index of 15 major currencies tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta declined 2.9 percent to its lowest level since June 1997.

Finance

Mutual Funds: Temporary Problem or Permanent Morass?
Economic Review Q4 2004
How will recent scandals and regulatory changes in the mutual fund industry ultimately affect investors? The article outlines the industry’s current business practices and inherent problems and considers potential solutions.

Investment Banks, Scope, and Unavoidable Conflicts of Interest
Economic Review Q4 2004
This article considers the nature of the conflicts of interest within investment banks, how these conflicts may have harmed investors, and whether proposed regulatory solutions are likely to be effective.

Searching for a New Center: U.S. Securities Markets in Transition
Economic Review Q4 2004
Forces of change are besetting U.S. equity markets from all sides. This article discusses issues surrounding the markets’ evolving structure and offers some possible regulatory approaches to the challenges of today’s more competitive environment.

Debt Maturity, Risk, and Asymmetric Information
Working Paper 2004-32
The authors examine the role of risk and incomplete information on small firms’ debt maturity choices. Among their findings is that low-risk firms borrow for shorter terms than medium-risk firms.

Tax Policy Design in the Presence of Social Preferences: Some Experimental Evidence
Working Paper 2004-33
Using an experimental method to determine people’s preferences for tax policy design, the authors find that individuals balance concern for their own level of taxation with an aversion to inequality.