St. Louis Fed's The Regional Economist Stop Paying More for Less: Ways to Boost Productivity in Higher Education; What's in a Name? Reconciling Conflicting Evidence in Ethnic Names; State Predatory Lending Laws: Not All Are Created Equal; Community Profile: Effingham, Ill.


ST. LOUIS — The January edition of The Regional Economist, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' quarterly publication of economic and business issues, features the following articles. (The publication is also available on the Bank's web site:

  • "Stop Paying More for Less: Ways to Boost Productivity in Higher Education." As students (and their parents) shell out more and more every year to pay tuition and other expenses for college, the question becomes: What are we getting for our money? Economist Thomas A. Garrett and William Poole, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, analyze the decrease in the productivity of institutions of higher learning. They offer several strategies that universities and colleges may want to consider, including reducing expenses and developing better benchmarks of what their graduates should accomplish.
  • "What's in a Name? Reconciling Conflicting Evidence in Ethnic Names." Will a prospective employer view your desirability as a candidate less favorably if your first name is Kenya or Hakim, versus, say, Allison or Brad? Research analyst Kristie M. Engemann and economist Michael T. Owyang survey studies that explore the relationship between ethnic names and the labor market. These studies find that ethnic names appear to serve as a hindrance in the labor market, but emphasize that the exact extent of that barrier hasn't been determined yet.
  • "State Predatory Lending Laws: Not All Are Created Equal." Beginning with North Carolina in 1999, at least 23 states have introduced their own predatory lending laws. Prior evidence showed that the North Carolina law substantially reduced the flow of subprime credit. Researcher Giang Ho and economist Anthony Pennington-Cross examine the impact of the other 22 laws to see if the results in North Carolina are similar to other states' experiences. They find that the state predatory lending laws induce a variety of market responses, with some states being associated with increased rates of subprime application and origination while others experienced a reduction. The authors then posit that the construction of the laws, as shown by the extent of their market coverage and lending restrictions, provides a promising explanation for the inconsistent impact of state predatory lending laws on the flow of subprime credit.
  • "Community Profile: Effingham, Ill." When Effingham, Ill., lost some 1,200 jobs at the end of 2003, it seemed like the community would die, but it didn't. Today, the town is booming, thanks in part to an ambitious development plan.

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