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St. Louis Fed's Review: Changing Trends in the Labor Force; The Microfinance Revolution; A Primer on the Mortgage Market and Mortgage Finance; Thinking Like a Central Banker


ST. LOUIS — The January/February issue of Review, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' journal of economic and business issues, features the following articles. The publication is also available on the St. Louis Fed's web site:

  • "Changing Trends in the Labor Force: A Survey." As the 78 million baby boomers begin to retire, the question is: Who will replace them? Economists Riccardo DiCecio, Michael T. Owyang and Christopher H. Wheeler and researcher Kristie M. Engemann analyze changing trends in the labor-force participation rate over the past 50 years and survey some of the literature that offers explanations for these changes. They also examine the expected future shortage of workers and conclude that the primary challenge in the face of a decline in labor force participation will be to find ways to enhance the productivity of those people who choose to work.
  • "The Microfinance Revolution: An Overview." In 2006, Muhammad Yunus and the Gameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to reduce poverty in Bangladesh by providing small loans (often a $100 or less) to the extremely poor. Since then, microcredit and microfinance have spread to five continents and hundreds of countries. Economist Rajdeep Sengupta and researcher Craig P. Aubuchon provide a non-technical survey of microcredit and microfinance. The survey highlights the growth and development of microfinance, current problems and areas for future growth.
  • "A Primer on the Mortgage Market and Mortgage Finance." For most people, buying a home is the largest single purchase they will ever make. Consequently, a thorough understanding of the terminology and structure of the residential finance market can mean the difference between an agonizing experience and a satisfying one. Research analyst Daniel J. McDonald and economist Daniel L. Thornton discuss the basics of the mortgage market and mortgage finance, providing useful information that can aid people in making better decisions about financing their mortgages.
  • "Thinking Like a Central Banker." This is a reprint of a speech by William Poole, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, to Market News International in New York on Sept. 28, 2007.

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