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Econ Focus

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 and the nation and is published on a quarterly basis by the Bank's Research Department.

Econ Focus

Second Quarter 2010

Quarter 2 2010 Cover Image

Cover Story

Do Deficits Matter? And If So, How? As fiscal imbalances increase, economists debate their effect on the macroeconomy

Whether budget deficits matter is an important political, economic, and policy issue, especially given large projected expenditures for entitlement programs. Economists seem to agree that deficits are not inherently inflationary. But their effects on interest rates and other economic variables are less certain.
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Markets for Safety: Product recalls yield mixed effects on firms

There have been a number of high-profile cases of product recalls recently. Those incidents suggest that the marketplace generally works as economists would predict. Firms that produce defective goods usually take a hit to their reputation and their bottom line, though there are exceptions.

Advancing Immunity: What is the role for policy in the private decision to vaccinate children?

Vaccines are regarded as one of the greatest public health triumphs. But despite direct benefits, some parents choose not to vaccinate their children and can effectively free-ride off the immunization of others. Policymakers must weigh potential limitations on private freedoms with public health when considering how to achieve the socially optimal level of vaccination.
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The Generosity Cycle: Charitable giving during downturns

Philanthropy professionals have been investigating patterns of giving during the downturn to see what they can learn. They find that people cut back and reallocate gifts, but things could be worse.
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High-Speed Chase: Taking broadband to the limit

Bringing everyone in the United States up to broadband speed gets iffy in remote places where low subscriber numbers might not justify the cost of deploying wire and fiber. That broadband gap ultimately might be closed -- or at least narrowed -- using wireless configurations, satellite, and even existing power lines.
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Of Mines and Markets

An explosion at a West Virginia coal mine raises legitimate questions about the role of market discipline in workplace safety as well as the effectiveness of regulation.
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