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Econ Focus


Second Quarter 2018

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2018

Cover Story: Tariffs and Trade Disputes
How are recent moves affecting businesses in the Fifth District?

First Quarter 2018

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2018

Cover Story: Are Markets Too Concentrated?
Industries are increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer firms. But is that a bad thing?


Fourth Quarter 2017

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2017

Cover Story: Medicine Markup
Americans pay a lot for prescription drugs. Does that mean we pay too much?

Third Quarter 2017

Econ Focus, Third Quarter 2017

Cover Story: Cyberattacks and the Digital Dilemma
Recent high-profile hacks have renewed calls for improved security, but competing incentives pose a challenge

Second Quarter 2017

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2017

Cover Story: Pricing Vice
Can "sin taxes" be good for your health and the economy?

First Quarter 2017

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2017

Cover Story: The Missing Boomerang Buyers
Does it matter whether people who lost their homes during the foreclosure crisis come back to the housing market?


Third/Fourth Quarter 2016

Econ Focus, Third/Fourth Quarter 2016

Special Issue: Economics Over the Life Cycle
This issue looks at the economic situations that Americans face at various points in their lives — and the implications for economic policy and personal finance.

Second Quarter 2016

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2016

Cover Story: Tomorrow's Lenders?
Online nonbank lenders have experienced tremendous growth. What promises, and perils, do they hold for the financial system?

First Quarter 2016

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2016

Cover Story: Will America Get a Raise?
Economists debate why wage growth has been so sluggish during the recovery from the Great Recession


Fourth Quarter 2015

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2015

Cover Story: Dealing with Disasters
From hurricanes to asteroids, how should we determine what steps to take to avert catastrophe?

Third Quarter 2015

Econ Focus, Third Quarter 2015

Featured Article: A Fresh Look at the "Huddled Masses"
Economists are looking at past mass migration waves to understand Europe's refugee surge.

Second Quarter 2015

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2015

Cover Story: The Public Perils of Private Debt
Debt makes the wheels of commerce turn. But under certain circumstances, it can also heighten financial crises and recessions.

First Quarter 2015

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2015

Cover Story: The Secession Question
What are the economic costs and benefits of nations breaking apart?


Fourth Quarter 2014

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2014

Cover Story: The Sharing Economy
Are new online markets creating economic value or threatening consumer safety?

Third Quarter 2014

Econ Focus, Third Quarter 2014

Featured Article: Birds of a Feather
Does the hawk-dove distinction still matter in the modern Fed?

Second Quarter 2014

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2014

Cover Story: Crowded
While more is not always merrier, population growth over the last century has had many positive effects

First Quarter 2014

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2014

Cover Story: Cybersecuring Payments
Are we losing the fight against next-gen bank robbers?


Fourth Quarter 2013

Econ Focus - Fourth Quarter 2013

Cover story: "Risky Business?"
Insurance is boring...or at least it's supposed to be

Third Quarter 2013

Econ Focus - Third Quarter 2013

Cover Story: Has College Become a Riskier Investment?
The payoff has become more uncertain — but you're probably still better off going

Second Quarter 2013

Econ Focus - Second Quarter 2013

Cover Story: Sizing Up Currency Manipulation
The Chinese government may be holding down its currency to increase exports. But it's not clear what — if anything — the United States should do about it

First Quarter 2013

Econ Focus - First Quarter 2013

Cover Story: Drawing the Line
New measures of poverty illustrate just how hard it is to define who is poor


Fourth Quarter 2012

Region Focus - Fourth Quarter 2012

Featured Story: Putting Banks to the (Stress) Test

Second/Third Quarter 2012

Region Focus - Second/Third Quarter 2012

Cover Story: Where Have All the Workers Gone? - Why are more people leaving the labor force, and what are they doing?

First Quarter 2012

Region Focus - First Quarter 2012

Cover Story: What We Don't Know About Innovation - We know innovation is important — but do we know how to make it happen?


Fourth Quarter 2011

Region Focus - Fourth Quarter 2011

Cover Story: American Made
The manufacturing sector is stronger than you might think — but new vulnerabilities are emerging.

PDF version

Third Quarter 2011

Region Focus - Third Quarter 2011

Cover Story: Why Aren’t We Creating More Jobs? Job growth usually rebounds quickly after a severe recession, but this time is different.

Second Quarter 2011

Region Focus - Second Quarter 2011

Cover Story: Foreign Housing Finance. America’s housing finance system — including its hefty government support — is unique in the world. As reform progresses, the models of other developed nations could provide some insight. 

First Quarter 2011

Region Focus - First Quarter 2011

Cover Story: What Drives Changes in Economic Thought? Why economists study what they do -- and how the crisis might change it


Third Quarter 2010

Region Focus - Third Quarter 2010

Cover Story: Fuzzy Math: Public pensions are underfunded – how bad is it?

Fourth Quarter 2010

Region Focus - Fourth Quarter 2010

Cover Story: What Causes Recoveries? How good policy and good luck can trigger the upward side of the business cycle

Second Quarter 2010

Region Focus - Second Quarter 2010

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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First Quarter 2010

Region Focus - First Quarter 2010

Cover Story: The New Normal? Economists ponder whether the "natural" rate of unemployment has risen


Fall 2009

Region Focus - Fall 2009

The Price is Right? Has the financial crisis provided a fatal blow to the efficient market hypothesis?

Some observers have argued that the financial crisis has disproven what has become known as the "efficient market hypothesis." But the conclusions of the hypothesis are more modest than its critics often suggest.
Related Links

Summer 2009

Region Focus - Summer 2009

Cover Story: Measuring Quality of Life: How should we assess improvements to our standard of living?

Economists and policymakers often use average income as a way to gauge a country's "standard of living." But income alone doesn't capture overall quality of life. Should policymakers use other measures — including health, education, and even aggregate happiness — when making economic policy?
Related Links

Spring 2009

Region Focus - Spring 2009

Reforming the Raters: Can regulatory reforms adequately realign the incentives of credit rating agencies?

Amid the financial turmoil, many have criticized the bond rating agencies. How do these agencies operate? And what do economists have to say about the role they play in a healthy capital market?
Related Links

Winter 2009

Region Focus - Winter 2009

Know When to Fold 'Em: How the corporate bankruptcy system benefits and hinders the economy

It's important to distinguish between firms that are merely distressed and those that are no longer viable. Does the current corporate bankruptcy system provide the most efficient means to this end?
Related Links


Fall 2008

Region Focus - Fall 2008

House Bias: The economic consequences of subsidizing homeownership

Spring/Summer 2008

Region Focus - Spring/Summer 2008

The State of Modern Economics
Special section of articles, starting with "Unsteady State: The Ongoing Evolution of Mainstream Economics"

Winter 2008

Region Focus - Winter 2008

Cover Story: Going Private
Another private equity boom has passed, but the underlying need for the industry has not


Fall 2007

Region Focus - Fall 2007

Cover Story: Downtown is Dead. Long Live Downtown.
America is busy rebuilding its downtowns. But these are not the downtowns of yesterday.

Summer 2007

Region Focus - Summer 2007

Cover Story: Democracy and Other Failures
The theory of public choice helps explain why we get stuck with so many bad economic policies. Or does it?

Spring 2007

Region Focus - Spring 2007

Cover Story: Academic Alternatives
The theory of school choice sounds great, but it remains controversial. Now, evidence from programs like the one in Milwaukee is beginning to move the discussion from the theoretical to the practical.

Winter 2007

Region Focus - Winter 2007

Cover Story: Options on the Outs
The popularity of employee stock options is expected to wane with the adoption of a new accounting rule


Fall 2006

Region Focus - Fall 2006

Cover Story: Charged by the Market.
Electricity deregulation is finally starting to stir up retail competition in Maryland.

Summer 2006

Region Focus - Summer 2006

Cover Story: $afety First
When markets work, it pays for companies to have safer workplaces, including the coalfields of Virginia and West Virginia.

Related Links
Web Exclusive: Responses to Tragedy
Web Exclusive: Why People Make Mistakes

Spring 2006

Region Focus - Spring 2006

Cover Story: The End of the "Free" Ride: Tolls bring home the true cost of roads
With traffic congestion worsening, transportation economists are emphasizing pricing tools to make drivers think about how much highways really cost.

Winter 2006

Region Focus - Winter 2006

Cover Story: Family Portrait. Life is hard in one of Baltimore's toughest neighborhoods. But for Janice Walker, it's home.



Fall, 2005

Region Focus - Fall, 2005

Minds Matter.
Early childhood education meets economic development.


Summer 2005

Region Focus - Summer 2005

Lights Out

Three years after the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, questions are mounting about unintended consequences for hundreds of U.S. firms.

Spring 2005

Region Focus - Spring 2005

Homeward Bound

Housing markets work just fine for most people. But certain markets in the Fifth District aren't producing homes and apartments that working families can afford.

Winter 2005

Region Focus - Winter 2005

Branch Bonanza
They cost a lot, but customers can't get enough of them. Why bank branches won't go away.


Fall, 2004

Region Focus - Fall, 2004

Why Cities Grow.

Economist Richard Florida argues that cities must attract young, talented workers - what he dubs the 'creative class' - if they want to prosper.

Summer, 2004

Region Focus - Summer, 2004

Working for Health Care.

Employer-sponsored health insurance is commonplace, but it's one of many factors distorting the market for medical services.

Winter, 2004

Region Focus - Winter, 2004

Global Gain, Local Pain.

The globalization of manufacturing has produced cheaper goods for everyone, but the trend has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Fifth District.

Spring, 2004

Region Focus - Spring, 2004

Working for Health Care.

Employer-sponsored health insurance is commonplace, but it's one of many factors distorting the market for medical services.


Fall, 2003

Region Focus - Fall, 2003

Building in Uncle Sam's Backyard.

Several factors distinguish commercial development in Washington, D.C., from other real estate markets.

Summer, 2003

Region Focus - Summer, 2003

Dollars and Defense.

A closer look at how military spending affects Fifth District communities in times of war and peace.

Spring, 2003

Region Focus - Spring, 2004

Running on Empty?

While the Fifth District's water supply outlook isn't as dry as you might think, the region could benefit from water policy reform.

Winter 2003

Region Focus

Beyond the Turmoil

After a period of rapid and uneven growth, the telecommunications industry in the Fifth District is in the midst of a painful reorganization as service providers rethink how to meet customer demand.

Contact Us

Aaron Steelman
Publications Director