Timely Topics

Timely Topics about the Fed

Photo of Economist Dave Wheelock | St. Louis FedMonetary Policy Minutes

How do monetary policy and fiscal policy differ? What can (and can’t) monetary policy do? In the first segment of this three-part podcast, St. Louis Fed economist David Wheelock answers these questions and discusses how monetary policy affects us all. The second segment covers key monetary policy variables, such as employment and inflation; he explains, for example, why the Fed targets an inflation rate of 2 percent and not 0 percent. In the third segment, he discusses how the current low-interest rate environment affects borrowers and savers in this economy. The three parts total about 15 minutes.

Listen to "Monetary Policy Minutes" »


Mary Suiter, St. Louis Fed economics education officerEconomic Literacy for Life

In this podcast, our economic education officer, Mary Suiter, talks about our mission to get people of all ages to learn about basic economics and how to handle personal finances. Such efforts are aimed at not only helping the individual but the economy as a whole. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is a leader in this sort of literacy campaign. It has already created more than 400 resources that anyone can use for free – online courses, lesson plans, videos, podcasts, infographics and even flash cards. There’s something for everyone, from preschoolers to teachers to retirees. Suiter selects several resources that would be a good starting point for those who want to teach themselves or others about these important subjects. Listen to the 12-minute podcast.

Listen to "Economic Literacy for Life" »


Timely Topics The Fed's Regional Structure video iconThe Fed's Regional Structure

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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Timely Topics in Research

Economist Maximiliano A. Dvorkin | St. Louis Fed

Chinese Imports, U.S. Jobs

In this podcast, economist Max Dvorkin talks about his research into the impact of Chinese imports on U.S. jobs during the period 2000-07, a time when those imports were surging. In all, 800,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. were lost because of these imports, Dvorkin found. On the flip side, a like number of jobs were created in different sectors. In addition, the cheaper imports led to an increase in buying power of $260 a year on average for every American—for life, he calculated. Who won? Who lost? What’s left to learn? Listen to the 14-minute podcast.

Watch "Chinese Imports, U.S. Jobs" »


Timely Topics Economic Development video icon

Economic Development, Part 1: Why Are Some Countries So Rich and Others So Poor?

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.

Economic Development, Part 2: Reducing Trade Barriers to Close the Gap between Rich and Poor Countries

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.

Watch "Economic Development" »


Timely Topics Disability Insurance video icon

Disability Insurance

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.

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Timely Topics in the News

Timely Topics The Gold Standard video iconThe Gold Standard

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.

Watch "The Gold Standard" »


In these videos and podcasts, economists and other experts 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 and podcasts are categorized as Timely Topics about the Fed, Timely Topics in Research and Timely Topics in the News.

Some of the videos and podcasts 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 often provided for those who would like to dig deeper.

Check back later for additional videos and podcasts.

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