2011 College Fed Challenge National Finals, Rutgers University | Summary and Q&A

January 12, 2012
Federal Reserve
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2011 College Fed Challenge National Finals, Rutgers University


An analysis of current economic conditions and possible monetary policy options, including a discussion on growth, housing market, labor market, consumer spending, and unconventional tools at the zero lower bound.

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Key Insights

  • ☠️ The analysis highlights the importance of forward guidance and the effectiveness of previous round of LSAPs (Large-Scale Asset Purchases) in reducing longer-term interest rates.
  • 🔨 Concerns about unanchoring inflation expectations and disrupting market functioning are mentioned as drawbacks of unconventional tools.
  • 🌐 The impact of the European debt crisis on the U.S. includes decreased exports and potential global financial instability.
  • ❓ The interconnectedness of the financial system and the importance of confidence for economic recovery are emphasized.
  • 🍉 The need for a balance between fiscal stimulus and long-term debt reduction is discussed.
  • 😫 Different views on setting explicit targets for inflation and unemployment are presented, considering the dual mandate of the Federal Reserve.
  • 🌥️ The potential benefits and drawbacks of unconventional monetary policy tools, such as large-scale asset purchases and forward guidance, are examined.


All right, so good morning, everyone. Following the success of my first policy speech at Columbia University, I've called you together to help me prepare for a follow-up talk. So as you know, four weeks ago, the FOMC decided to continue policies announced at previous meetings. Therefore, our goal today is to analyze current economic conditions, to ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How is the housing market affecting the overall economic growth?

The housing market's decline is hindering economic growth, with low housing starts and declining home prices impacting consumer confidence and spending.

Q: What are the current unemployment rates and how are they affecting consumer spending?

The unemployment rate remains high at 9%, leading to cautious consumer spending as people are concerned about job security and income growth.

Q: How is the Federal Reserve addressing the weak labor market?

The Federal Reserve aims to support the labor market by providing liquidity to community banks and credit unions to foster job growth in smaller businesses.

Q: What are the potential risks to the economy mentioned in the analysis?

The risks include financial instability due to the European debt crisis, declining U.S. exports, and ongoing issues in the housing market.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The analysis begins with a discussion on the current economic growth rate, which is lower than expected but still showing signs of staving off a recession.

  • The housing market remains a weak spot in the economy due to declining housing starts and falling home prices.

  • The labor market is underwhelming, with high unemployment rates and slow job growth, leading to cautious consumer spending.

  • The discussion also highlights the risks of financial market instability, manufacturing growth, and inflation concerns.

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