As the U.S. economy returns to healthier growth, many of us expected long-term interest rates to return to more normal historical levels. But the general trend has been down since the end of the Great Recession. The 10-year rate did jump back up in the spring of 2013. But during most of this year it has been falling again.
Roger Farmer has taken a new look at an issue concerning the Federal Reserve’s program of large-scale asset purchases (referred to in the popular press as “quantitative easing”) that I’ve been discussing on Econbrowser and in my research with University of Chicago Professor Cynthia Wu for some time.
I saw an interesting statistic in the latest issue of Journal of Economic Perspectives. If you rank North American economics Ph.D. programs in terms of the publishing success of their median student in the first six years after graduating, UCSD comes in second.
Number one? Seems to be Princeton.
The unfunded liabilities of the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association have increased every year for the last five years, reaching $2.45 billion last year, more than quintuple the level in 2008. The calculation of how big the shortfall is assumes that the fund is going to be able to earn a 7.75% return on its investment after subtracting administrative costs. If it earns less than 7.75%, the shortfall will be even bigger. A 10-year Treasury bond currently pays 2.4%, and a typical stock has a dividend yield under 2%. So what do you do if you’re in charge of the system’s $10 billion in assets?
I was interested to take a look at our recent weak economic performance from a longer-term perspective.
Quick links to a few items I found interesting.
Three years ago I called attention to the NYU Stern Volatility Laboratory. Since then it’s grown into an even more amazing resource, giving anyone access to constantly updated information about financial conditions in dozens of countries around the globe. Of particular interest are recent changes in their measure of the systemic risk posed by financial institutions.
Here’s the introduction to a new paper I just finished:
This year the oil industry celebrated its 155th birthday, continuing a rich history of booms, busts and dramatic technological changes. Many old hands in the oil patch may view recent developments as a continuation of the same old story, wondering if the high prices of the last decade will prove to be another transient cycle with which technological advances will again eventually catch up. But there have been some dramatic changes over the last decade that could mark a major turning point in the history of the world’s use of this key energy source. In this article I review five of the ways in which the world of energy may have changed forever.
Below I provide a summary of the paper’s five main conclusions along with a few of the figures from the paper.
Production flows from a given oil field naturally decline over time, but we keep trying harder and technology keeps improving. Which force is winning the race?