September/October 2008

In This Edition

  • Banking Crisis Solutions Old and New

    In 2007 Britain experienced its first run on a bank of any macroeconomic significance since 1866. This was not dealt with by the method that had maintained banking stability for so long: letting the bank fail but supplying abundant liquidity to the markets to prevent contagion. In this paper the authors examine why that traditional solution was not used and propose changes to Britain's deposit insurance system, to its bank insolvency regime, and in arrangements to allow customers access to banking services should their bank be closed"”so that the traditional approach can once more be used to mitigate moral hazard.

  • Monetary Economic Research at the St. Louis Fed During Ted Balbach's Tenure as Research Director

    Ted Balbach served as research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis from 1975 to 1992. This paper lauds his contributions during that time, including the expanded influence of the Review, enhanced databases and data publications, and a visiting scholar program that attracted leading economists from around the world. Balbach is remembered fondly as a visionary leader and gracious mentor.

  • Oil and the U.S. Macroeconomy: An Update and a Simple Forecasting Exercise

    Some analysts and economists recently warned that the U.S. economy faces a much higher risk of recession should the price of oil rise to one hundred dollars per barrel or more. In February 2008, spot crude oil prices closed above one hundred dollars per barrel for the first time ever, and since then they have climbed even higher. Meanwhile, according to some surveys of economists, it is highly probable that a recession began in the United States in late 2007 or early 2008. Although the findings in this paper are consistent with the view that the U.S. economy has become much less sensitive to large changes in oil prices, a simple forecasting exercise using Hamilton's model augmented with the first principal component of 85 macroeconomic variables reveals that a permanent increase in the price of crude oil to one hundred and fifty dollars per barrel by the end of 2008 could have a significant negative effect on the growth rate of real gross domestic product in the short run. Moreover, the model also predicts that such an increase in oil prices would produce much higher overall and core inflation rates in 2009 than most policymakers expect.

  • The Credit Crunch of 2007-2008: A Discussion of the Background, Market Reactions, and Policy Responses

    This paper discusses the events surrounding the 2007-08 credit crunch. It highlights the period of exceptional macrostability, the global savings glut, and financial innovation in mortgage-backed securities as the precursors to the crisis. The credit crunch itself occurred when house prices fell and subprime mortgage defaults increased. These events caused investors to reappraise the risks of high-yielding securities, bank failures, and sharp increases in the spreads on funds in interbank markets. The paper evaluates the actions of the authorities that provided liquidity to the markets and failing banks and indicates areas where improvements could be made. Similarly, it examines the regulation and supervision during this time and argues the need for changes to avoid future crises.



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