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Second/Third Quarter 2021 Econ Focus

Aug. 9, 2021

Richmond Fed Looks at Differences in Inflation Among People, Groups

In theory, inflation is a uniform, across-the-board increase in price levels. But in reality, different people and different groups experience it in diverse ways. The latest issue of the Richmond Fed’s Econ Focus magazine looks at research on differences in inflation experiences — and what those differences mean for monetary policy.

Also in this issue:

  • Corporate taxes across borders. Multinational corporations have long employed sophisticated accounting maneuvers to shift income to lower-tax countries, thereby reducing their overall tax bills. Governments across the globe recently reached agreements in principle on measures to counteract this behavior. But the path to a fully operational set of global limits is likely to be arduous.
  • Bringing the farm indoors. Evolving technology allows controlled-environment agriculture, such as vertical farms, to grow crops indoors in optimized conditions. It won’t replace the familiar outdoor farm, but for some foods and some consumers, it may make enough inroads to increase local growing in and near urban areas.
  • The minimum wage in the Fifth District. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have adopted minimum wage levels that exceed the federal mandate, which was first enacted in the wake of the Great Depression. More state and local minimum wage increases in the Fifth District have been legislated and a federal increase is under discussion. Who would be affected by those increases, and what is likely to happen to employment?
  • When interstates paved the way. The development of the Interstate Highway System started in 1956 when it was a gleam in President Eisenhower’s eye. It boosted Americans’ mobility, making road trips easier and facilitating production and trade. Quality-of-life concerns, however, have led some localities to push back.
  • Interview. Labor markets expert Ayşegül Şahin (pronounced “ay-she-gul sha-heen”) of the University of Texas at Austin on the future of wage growth, labor’s share of income and the male-female unemployment gap.
  • More. Coverage of other economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District and the nation.

For a free print subscription to Econ Focus, the economics magazine of the Richmond Fed, or for copies, sign up or call (800) 322-0565. Sign up for a free email subscription. The articles also are available online.

As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.


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Jim Strader (804) 697-8956 (804) 332-0207 (mobile)