The "poverty line," the federal government's statistical definition of poverty, has shaped discussions of U.S. antipoverty policy since the late 1960s. Are we defining poverty too broadly? Too narrowly? The cover story in this issue of Econ Focus looks at these and other questions about measures of material deprivation.
Also in this issue:
• Where did the newly created money go? The monetary base, the total of bank reserves and currency, has more than tripled since June 2008. Most of the new money is parked at the Fed as excess reserves. Could those reserves eventually enter the economy in a way that leads to higher inflation?
• Pluses and minuses of Internet college education. Free online programs taught by university professors have drawn attention throughout higher education, attracting hundreds of thousands of students worldwide. Yet it's unclear whether the programs can compete successfully with traditional education in the long run.
• Interview with Christopher Carroll, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University and previously a senior economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton and President Obama, on how consumers reacted to the housing crash, the major unsolved puzzles in consumption theory, and building a better economics Ph.D. program.
Econ Focus, formerly Region Focus, is the economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. It covers economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District (the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia) and the nation. Its new name better reflects the magazine's mix of both national and regional coverage.
For a free subscription to Econ Focus or for copies of the magazine, contact the Bank's Research Publications division at (800) 322-0565. The articles are available online at http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/.
The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. As part of the nation's central bank, we're one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that work together with the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to strengthen the economy and our communities. We manage the nation's money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow. We also supervise and regulate financial institutions to help safeguard our nation's financial system and protect the integrity and efficiency of our payments system.