ST. LOUIS — The October 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: http://stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/.)
- "Electricity: The Next Energy Jolt?" Rolling blackouts in Texas in 2005 and the blackout in the upper Midwest, Northeast and part of Canada in 2003 demonstrated that the electricity sector is not immune from the kind of crisis that has been seen in petroleum and gas prices. Economist Kevin L. Kliesen analyzes the economics of electricity supply and demand. He concludes that if the electric industry doesn't add enough capacity to deliver electricity over bulk transmission lines, the risk of more supply disruptions will increase.
- "Adding Up the Economic Effects of Immigration." In the past three decades, the percentage of foreign-born people in the United States has risen sharply, from 5 percent in 1970 to about 12 percent in 2003. Economist Rubn Hernndez-Murillo analyzes both the costs and the benefits of immigration. He finds that increased immigration in the short run can carry adjustment costs, both in terms of the labor market outcomes for U.S.-born workers as well as the net fiscal contribution of immigrants. He concludes that, over the long run, whether the benefits of immigration exceed the costs depends on how quickly the children of immigrants can be assimilated into the native population.
- "Income Inequality: Time for Predatory Lending Laws?" Income inequalitythe gap between the rich and the poorseems to indicate a higher probability of a predatory lending law being adopted. Economist Yuliya Demyanyk analyzes the states that have adopted predatory lending laws versus those that have not. She finds that states that have recently adopted such laws had higher-than-average levels of income inequality over the past 10 years than their non-adapting counterparts. Her analysis shows that predatory lending laws were adopted in those states where they might do the most good in reducing inequality. She concludes, however, that it is too early to formally test for any actual, real effects of predatory lending laws on states' economies and, in particular, whether those laws are really fighting income inequality.
- "Community Profile: Columbia, Mo. Thousands of students come and go each year in Columbia, Mo., the home of the University of Missouri's main campus. City officials, however, are working to make this college town a center for life sciences, especially those who plan to commercialize their research.
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