Region Focus Cover

February 15, 2011

Richmond Fed Publication Examines Causes of Economic Recoveries

Richmond, Va.

Economists have declared that the latest recession stretched from December 2007 to June 2009 -- making it the longest downturn since the Great Depression. Moreover, while the recovery is under way, weaknesses still persist, especially in the labor market. The cover story of the latest issue of Region Focus looks at the causes of recoveries and examines what policymakers can do to hasten them and which factors are often beyond their control.

Also in this issue:

  • The Growing Market -- and Tab -- for Student Loans. Student loan debt has increased greatly in recent years, as have the default rates on that debt. Rising tuition rates, federal subsidies, and securitization contributed to the increase, but new regulations may lead to significant changes for both lenders and borrowers.
  • Art Museums Get Creative to Keep the Doors Open. Art museums rarely charge visitors in a way that fully pays the bills; ensuring widespread accessibility to patrons is an important part of their mission. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a case study in adapting to fiscal realities while maintaining access.
  • The Community Reinvestment Act and the Subprime Crisis. Critics have argued that the Community Reinvestment Act led in part to lower lending standards and to the crisis in underwater mortgages. What was the role of the CRA in the crisis?

Region Focus, a quarterly business magazine published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, covers the economy and business activities of the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

For free copies of Region Focus, contact the Bank's Research Publications division at 800.322.0565. The articles are available online at

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.


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