The top reads of 2022
On list: New Bank president, central bank digital currency project completed, inflation research
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston welcomed Susan M. Collins as its new president and CEO in 2022, while continuing to tackle projects related to COVID-19, payments innovation, wealth inequality, and more. Our top reads for the year cover topics including Collins’ outreach across New England, the long-term impacts of the pandemic on the labor market, and research about consumer attention to inflation. Check them out below, and please continue to read our work in 2023.
Summary: Macroeconomist Susan M. Collins began her tenure as Boston Fed president and CEO in July, following Eric Rosengren’s retirement in 2021. Collins previously served as provost of the University of Michigan, and she is the second female and the first person of color to hold the Bank’s top job.
Quote: “I’m honored to take on this new role and the tremendous responsibility it carries, especially at such an important time for the U.S. economy.” – Susan M. Collins, Boston Fed president and CEO
Summary: Project Hamilton, a joint research effort between the Boston Fed and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is complete. The project focused on the technical feasibility of a potential central bank digital currency.
Quote: “We think Project Hamilton helped not only the financial services sector, but the greater public, which relies upon fast, accessible, and safe money.” – Bob Bench, Boston Fed assistant vice president
Summary: The Boston Fed’s 66th Economic Research Conference, “Labor Markets During and After the Pandemic,” focused on COVID-19’s uncertain and long-term effects on labor markets.
Quote: “These trends are relevant because they affect our understanding of the cyclical position of the economy, and also because they matter for what the Fed considers to be maximum sustainable employment.” – Susan M. Collins, Boston Fed president and CEO
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Summary: A study by Bank economist Jenny Tang and visiting scholar Anat Bracha introduced a novel way to measure attention to inflation among U.S. consumers. The authors show that attention is low when the inflation rate is low and that consumers focus more on inflation when the rate rises, which may fuel higher inflation.
Quote: “In macroeconomics, expectations about future economic conditions are key because they affect consumers’, investors’, and firms’ decisions, and these decisions, in turn, drive macroeconomic outcomes.” – Jenny Tang, Boston Fed senior economist, and Anat Bracha, visiting scholar
Boston Fed’s Collins visits Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island
Summary: Boston Fed President and CEO Susan M. Collins met with community advocates, business leaders, public officials, and other stakeholders in three states as part of an ongoing effort to gather economic perspectives from across New England.
Quote: “Yes, we look at statistics and we try to understand what’s happening in that perspective. But it’s really important to hear on the ground what people are experiencing, what things are actually like, and I’m here to listen.” – Susan M. Collins, Boston Fed president and CEO
Summary: The Bank is partnering with several organizations on a new research effort that takes a closer look at gaps in financial stability, wealth accumulation, and economic mobility in Massachusetts. It follows the Bank’s 2015 “Color of Wealth” report, which is often cited because of the stark wealth disparities it found between minority and white households in the Boston area.
Quote: "This new study … is going to say more about the sources of (wealth) differences, including things like inheritance and the role that inherited wealth plays. It’s also going to obviously be more comprehensive.” – Prabal Chakrabarti, Boston Fed community affairs officer