Month: March 2014

Household Debt and the Great Depression

In November 1930, before anyone knew how Great the Depression would be, Charles Persons published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics called “Credit Expansion, 1920 to 1929, and Its Lessons.” His thesis was stated forcefully in the first paragraph: “The thesis of this paper is that the existing depression was due essentially to …

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Investors Pulling Back — What Happens to Housing Now?

Bill McBride at calculatedriskblog.com (a must read in the economics blogosphere) has been doing some fantastic posts on the abrupt pull-back by investors in the U.S. housing market. They were very aggressively buying homes in depressed markets from 2010 to 2012, but the excitement is now cooling. This is closely related to a previous postwhere we showed that …

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Housing Market Rebound Fundamentally Different

Our initial blog post on Friday made the argument that the housing market rebound was driven primarily by investors buying up foreclosed properties. As a result, we should not expect it to fuel household spending as we saw before. Two articles out today make arguments that are closely related: home building is shifting toward rental apartments and …

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The Federal Reserve and Wealth Inequality

The Federal Reserve has a well-defined dual-mandate: stabilize prices and maximize employment. However, in trying to achieve these objectives, the Fed can inadvertently favor some segments of the population more than others. This was indeed the case from the perspective of households’ net worth position during the Great Recession. We have already highlighted the highly unequal distribution …

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