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Foreword from the Conference Organizers

Every year, two economists from the Research division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis organize the Bank’s annual research conference. The privilege was ours for the 40th Annual Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Fall Conference. Of course, a conference of this magnitude doesn’t come about through the work of only two people. We are grateful for the numerous Bank employees who worked to make this conference happen.

The rich tradition of this conference began when the first one was held on Nov. 30, 1976. It was titled “Financing Economic Growth: The Problem of Capital Formation,” and considered the problems of generating sufficient flows of saving and investment to finance economic growth and development in the future.

Since then, the annual conference has continued to feature the latest in policy and frontier research. This year’s conference was highlighted by yet another distinguished group of speakers. Specifically, this year’s speakers presented papers:

  • Examining the extent to which recent developments in neoclassical models can improve our understanding of aggregate economies
  • Incorporating intangible investments into a multi-sector general equilibrium model to estimate processes for latent sectorial total factor productivity
  • Discussing the role of wholesale banking and bank runs in modeling financial crises
  • Seeking to understand the behavior of the Chinese savings rate, which has more than doubled since 1980
  • Studying the determinants of prices, wages and employment during the Great Recession using regional business cycle data
  • Exploring monetary policy when fractional reserves are set at 100 percent
  • Studying the macroeconomic effects of a shortage of safe assets and the emergence of a deflationary equilibrium
  • Examining the quantitative implications of wealth taxation through an incomplete markets model where individual rates of return are heterogeneous
  • Discussing a dynamic model of health insurance used to evaluate both the short- and long-run effects of policies that prevent firms from conditioning wages on the health conditions of their workers

One of the St. Louis Fed’s goals is to make economic data and research available to a broad audience. This conference volume, in which our speakers describe their work in layman’s terms, follows in that tradition.

We thank you for your interest in the 2015 conference and look forward to next year’s conference.

Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Guillaume Vandenbroucke
Senior Economist
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis