- Links for 02-06-15
- Fed Watch: Fed Updates
- 'Increasing Individualism Linked with Rise of White-Collar Jobs'
- How Many of the Unemployed Receive Unemployment Compensation?
- The Fed and Crisis Prevention
Posted: 06 Feb 2015 12:06 AM PST
Posted: 05 Feb 2015 02:41 PM PST
Posted: 05 Feb 2015 12:01 PM PST
If this research is correct, widespread opportunity to move from blue-collar to white-collar occupations is important for "individualism":
Increasing individualism in US linked with rise of white-collar jobs, Association for Psychological Science: Rising individualism in the United States over the last 150 years is mainly associated with a societal shift toward more white-collar occupations, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. ...
"Across many markers of individualism, social class was the only factor that systematically preceded changes in individualism over time, tentatively suggesting a causal relationship between them," explains psychological scientist and study author Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo.
According to Grossmann, who conducted the research with co-author Michael Varnum of the Arizona State University, the study represents one of the first ever large-scale attempts to test various theories explaining cultural change in individualism over a time span longer than 30 or 40 years. ...
Across all cultural indicators, the researchers found evidence that individualism has been rising steadily over the last 150 years. ...
"We were surprised that only one of the six tested cultural psychological theories was any good for statistically predicting changes in US individualism over time," says Grossmann. "The only theoretical claim that we found systematic support for is the one suggesting that the rise in individualism is due to societal changes in social class, from blue collar to white collar occupations."
The researchers note that these data do not allow them to draw a conclusive causal link between occupational status and individualism, but they do suggest that the other factors examined were unlikely to account for rising individualism.
Contrary to popular notions, the research indicates that increasing individualism is not a recent phenomenon. ...
Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:51 AM PST
The percentage may not be as high as you think, and is currently at the lowest level since at least 1972 (click on the figure for a larger, clearer version):
Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:22 AM PST
I wish the Fed was more reassuring about its ability to use its "central bank policy toolkit" for crisis prevention. This is part of an interview of Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein:
Has the experience of the crisis changed your view of the central bank policy toolkit?
Governor Stein: Yes, on two dimensions. First, on the toolkit insofar as it has to do with crisis prevention; and second, insofar as it has to do with what you do in the aftermath, when the economy is very weak and you are stuck at the zero lower bound.
Let me focus on the first of these two—what we've learned about crisis prevention. Speaking broadly, the tools of central banks can be classified into monetary policy, lender of last resort, and regulation. You might argue that – since we've learned that financial crises are more damaging then we had previously thought – we should use each of these tools to do more in the way of either crisis prevention or crisis mitigation. To the extent that there exists a consensus, this is surely true with respect to regulation. That is to say, I think that everyone basically believes that regulation in the period leading up to the crisis was inadequate and that we need to do better.
The other two are a little more interesting. You might have thought that one lesson from the crisis is that central banks acting as a lender of last resort was an important and powerful part of the response. Yet, the general thrust of Dodd-Frank is to make it harder to use the lender of last resort function for nonbanks like broker-dealer firms – namely, to make it more difficult to invoke Federal Reserve Act Section 13(3) powers in "unusual and exigent circumstances" for a specific firm. I think it's an open question whether that's a useful direction to go. I might lean against that a little bit: if you have the ability to regulate broker-dealers effectively, and you can regulate them as stringently as a bank, then you might want to have the ability to make the Federal Reserve's lender of last resort capabilities available to them as well.
And the second is with respect to monetary policy. If you take the view that we should be working with all of our tools to mitigate crises, should monetary policy be drawn into trying to reduce the odds of a crisis, or more generally, should it concern itself with buildups of risk in financial markets ex ante? I don't know if there's a consensus lesson there, but clearly the question has come more to the fore.
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