In these videos, economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis talk about their new research, about economics-related topics that are in the news and about issues that are specifically related to the Fed. These videos are categorized as Timely Topics in Research, Timely Topics in the News and Timely Topics about the Fed.
Some of the videos are only a few minutes long; others are broken into parts that are a few minutes long each. All are easy to follow. Links to related information are provided for those who would like to dig deeper.
Timely Topics in Research
The gap between rich and poor countries has grown exponentially since the days of Adam Smith. In the 1770s, rich countries were twice as well-off as poor countries. These days, GDP per capita is 35 times higher in rich countries than in poor. In this 3 ½ minute video, economist B. Ravikumar explains how he and other economists are looking at these cross-country income differences.
If barriers to trade are removed, capital goods flow more freely across countries; this benefits all parties because they all can use their resources more efficiently. The removal of trade barriers could close the income gap between rich and poor countries by 50 percent, according to research conducted by economist B. Ravikumar and his colleagues. The video is 4 ½ minutes long.
The rolls of those receiving disability payments through Social Security have been on the rise for about 20 years and now number close to 9 million people. As policymakers debate the pros and cons of the program, economists are researching what would be the optimal disability insurance program run by the government. In this 4-minute video, economist David Wiczer talks about a study he and a colleague undertook. It shows that the ideal program would be not much more generous than what we already have. Their work also shows that everybody benefits from the program – even those who are not disabled – because the insurance encourages people to take on dangerous jobs from which we all benefit.
Timely Topics in the News
At one time or another, many of the major countries around the world had monetary systems based on a gold standard—currency that could be redeemed, at least in part, for gold. But not a single country does so today. The U.S. and many other economies abandoned the gold standard more than 40 years ago. Still, advocates of a gold standard periodically call for its return, saying that it would curtail or prevent inflation. St. Louis Fed economist David Andolfatto explains the gold standard and discusses its pros and cons.
Timely Topics about the Fed
Unlike central banks in most other countries, the Federal Reserve System has a regional structure. There's not just one bank in a headquarters city, but 12 Reserve banks spread across the country along with the Board of Governors in D.C. The regional Reserve banks not only provide services closer to the people who need them, but these banks ensure that the concerns of the people in their districts are heard in Washington. St. Louis Fed economist and economic historian David Wheelock explains the history and benefits of this unusual structure.
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