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Research Notes–May 2006


Featuring research published in April 2006

Macroeconomics

Transparency, Expectations, and Forecasts
Economic Review Q1 2006
Since 1994 the Federal Open Market Committee has increased the transparency about its economic outlook. This article investigates whether this transparency has helped private agents improve their economic forecasts.

International Business Cycles: G7 and OECD Countries
Economic Review Q1 2006
As global economies integrate, policymakers and businesses could benefit from a reliable system to detect recessions in major economic partners. This article constructs probabilities of international business cycle phases that serve as a warning system.

Dollar Appreciated Moderately in March
In March the average monthly value for the trade-weighted dollar index of 15 major currencies tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta increased by 0.3 percent—the same increase as in February.

Finance

Merchant Acquirers and Payment Card Processors: A Look inside the Black Box
Economic Review Q1 2006
Few consumers are aware of the intricate network of institutions involved in credit and debit card transactions. This article examines the payment-card transactions process, explaining the key roles of merchant acquirers and card processors.

An Analysis of the Systemic Risks Posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and an Evaluation of the Policy Options for Reducing Those Risks
Working Paper 2006-2
The government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac manage investment portfolios whose size poses a systemic risk to the financial system. The authors analyze these systemic concerns and evaluate policy options for reducing the portfolios.