EconSouth, (Third Quarter 2008)

Research Notes and News

Research Notes and News highlights recently published research as well as other news from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Fed chief discusses reducing systemic risk
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently laid out two broad strategies for reducing risk in the nation's financial system: strengthening the financial infrastructure and adopting a broader approach to financial supervision and regulation.

Although the financial market turmoil that began in 2007 is not over, the nation must explore how to bolster the system to make such bouts of instability rarer and less severe, Bernanke said during an August speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Annual Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The Federal Reserve is collaborating with the private sector and other regulators to strengthen the financial infrastructure, he said. For example, the New York Fed is leading a public-private initiative to improve arrangements for clearing and settling trades in credit default swaps and other over-the-counter derivatives.

Bernanke also discussed the notion of a broader approach to supervising and regulating financial institutions. But he cautioned that such reforms must be carried out carefully. "The adoption of a regulatory and supervisory approach with a heavier macroprudential focus has a strong rationale, but we should be careful about overpromising, as we are still rather far from having the capacity to implement such an approach in a thoroughgoing way," he said.

Atlanta Fed research director introduces economics blog
Research staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta are now producing macroblog, an economics blog that appears on the Atlanta Fed's Web site.

The blog offers commentary and observations on economic topics of the day, including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, financial issues, and Southeastern economic trends. Posts so far, for example, have addressed what employment statistics say about the economy's health, the gross domestic product deflator, the complexities of measuring inflation, and the results of the federal government's economic stimulus package.

David Altig, senior vice president and director of research at the Atlanta Fed, originally launched macroblog in 2004 while he was an adjunct professor of economics in the graduate business school at the University of Chicago. He suspended the blog in August 2007, when he began his responsibilities at the Atlanta Fed.

Altig made the first post to the Atlanta Fed's macroblog on Aug. 12, 2008. New posts appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Postings made during the week before and the week of Federal Open Market Committee meetings do not comment on monetary policy.

Users may subscribe to macroblog via RSS feeds and e-mail.