FRBSF Economic Letters

Economic analysis for a general audience

David Neumark, Judith K. Hellerstein, and Mark J. Kutzbach


Labor market networks are informal connections among neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends that help people find jobs through sharing information about job openings or applicants. These networks appear to play a valuable role in helping workers recover after mass layoffs. Among relatively low-skilled workers who lost their jobs in mass layoffs, those living in neighborhoods with stronger labor market connections among neighbors found new jobs more quickly. Moreover, workers who found jobs through network connections also found better positions that paid more and lasted longer.

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Analysis of current economic developments and the outlook

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Working Papers

The latest in economic research

Thomas M. Mertens and John C. Williams

This paper analyzes the effects of the lower bound for interest rates on the distributions of expectations for future inflation and interest rates. We use a stylized model economy where the policy instrument is subject to a lower bound to motivate the empirical analysis. Two equilibria emerge: In the “target equilibrium,” policy is unconstrained most or all of the time, whereas in the “liquidity trap equilibrium,” policy is mostly or always constrained. We use options data on future interest rates and inflation to study whether the decrease in the natural rate of interest leads to forecast densities consistent with the theoretical model. We develop a lower bound indicator that captures the effects of the lower bound on the distribution of interest rates. Qualitatively, we find that evidence is largely consistent with the theoretical predictions in the target equilibrium and find no evidence in favor of the liquidity trap equilibrium. Quantitatively, while the lower bound has a sizable effect on the distribution of future interest rates, its impact on forecast densities for inflation is relatively modest.

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