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St. Louis Fed Creates Center for Regional Economics


ST. LOUIS — Anyone looking for valuable economic information or data on America's heartlandeverything from the effects of NAFTA on state imports to the impact of casinos and lotteriesmay want to start with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' new Center for Regional Economics - 8th District (CRE8). To access the center online, log on to:

The center, part of the St. Louis Fed's Research Division, was established to provide rigorous economic analysis of policy issues that affect the local, state and regional economies in the seven states of the Eighth District: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas.

"In part, the Center is designed to support the St. Louis Fed's 'Branching Out' initiative, which seeks to extend the Reserve Bank's communication of economics and community development issues that affect our branch cities of Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis, as well as the St. Louis area and other communities of the Eighth District," said Howard J. Wall, CRE8's director.

Research and ongoing projects by the CRE8 staff include:

  • the effects of NAFTA on state exports
  • the economics of airport expansion
  • the economic impacts of gaming and lotteries
  • creating policies that are hospitable to entrepreneurs
  • the link between education quality and housing markets
  • tax competition
  • prime and sub-prime mortgage markets
  • wage inequality and urbanization
  • the economics of urban light rail systems
  • states' business cycles

"Besides detailing our own research, CRE8 will organize policy forums, conferences and symposia that highlight economic research by others, "said Wall. "These events will be designed to inform and initiate discussions among policymakers in the states and communities of the 8th Federal Reserve District. We also hope CRE8 will serve as a resource for reporters and others who are looking for a credible source of economic data or just direction for where to look for data when they're doing stories related to any community or subject related to the District."

In addition to providing convenient links to the St. Louis Fed's business and economic publications, such as Review, The Regional Economist and others, the Web site offers links to a wealth of economic data regarding the Eighth District, ranging from statistics on the labor force in Illinois to wages in arts, entertainment and recreation in Mississippi.

The members of the CRE8 staff are:

  • Howard J. Wall, the director of the center and an assistant vice president in the Research Division of the St. Louis Fed. His research areas are international trade, regional economics and applied microeconomics.
  • Cletus C. Coughlin, a vice president and deputy director of the Research Division. Coughlin's principal areas of research are international and regional economics.
  • Thomas A. Garrett, a senior economist in the Research Division. His principal areas of interest are state and local public finance, the economics of state lotteries and gaming, and spatial and applied microeconomics.
  • Rubn Hernndez-Murillo, an economist in the Research Division. His primary areas of research are public finance and microeconomics.
  • Anthony Pennington-Cross, a senior economist in the Research Division. Housing and mortgage markets are his principal research areas.
  • Christopher H. Wheeler, an economist in the Research Division. His research fields are urban, regional and labor economics.

The St. Louis Fed's Research Division also announced the creation of the Business and Economics Research Group (BERG), a research forum that will include university-based centers for business and economics research in the states of the 8th District. Members will also include the staff of CRE8. "Many of our counterparts in BERG have a detailed knowledge of the sub-areas of the District," said Wall. "For the St. Louis Fed, BERG will give us valuable sources of information on economic trends and conditions within the District. For BERG members, it will provide a network for presenting, discussing and comparing research at state and local levels."

Wall said BERG's primary activity will be an annual spring conference consisting of research papers presented by BERG members on activities, developments, policies and conditions in their respective states or areas. The first conference is scheduled for May 6, 2005, in St. Louis. To access BERG, log on to:

With branches in Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis serves the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes all of Arkansas, eastern Missouri, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. The St. Louis Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, regulates state-chartered member banks and bank holding companies, and provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.

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