January/February 2008

In This Edition

  • A Primer on the Mortgage Market and Mortgage Finance

    This article is a primer on mortgage finance. It discusses the basics of the mortgage market and mortgage finance. In so doing, it provides useful information that can aid individuals in making better mortgage finance decisions. The discussion and the tools are presented within the context of mortgage finance; however, these same principles and tools can be applied to a wide range of financial decisions.

  • Changing Trends in the Labor Force: A Survey

    The composition of the American workforce has changed dramatically over the past half century as a result of both the emergence of married women as a substantial component of the labor force and an increase in the number of minority workers. The aging of the population has contributed to this change as well. In this paper, the authors review the evidence of changing labor force participation rates, estimate the trends in labor force participation over the past 50 years, and find that aggregate participation has stabilized after a period of persistent increases. Moreover, they examine the disparate labor force participation experiences of different demographic groups. Finally, they survey some of the studies that have provided explanations for these differences.

  • The Microfinance Revolution: An Overview

    The Nobel Prize committee awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below." The microfinance revolution has come a long way since Yunus first provided financing to the poor in Bangladesh. The committee has recognized microfinance as "an important liberating force" and an "ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty." Although several authors have provided comprehensive surveys of microfinance, our aim is somewhat more modest: This article is intended as a non-technical overview on the growth and development of microcredit and microfinance.

  • Thinking Like a Central Banker

    This article was originally presented as a speech to Market News International in New York, New York, September 28, 2007.



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