February 5th noon seminar

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Macro and Banking

Friday Virtual Seminar Series

Friday February 5, 2021

12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

This seminar is free.  Pre-registration is required. Register in advance at this Zoom link. Maximum capacity is 100 participants.

This session features two research papers on how information informs risk estimates and policies. The first one examines the trade-offs between target fund levels and insurer insolvency risk faced by deposit insurer. The authors develop a model and estimate the sizable gap between an optimal target fund level for the FDIC (as an example) and the official FDIC target fund. The paper also explores funding strategies to achieve alternative target fund levels.  The second paper uses a new approach to estimate and decompose the weight forecasters place on past predictions in expectation formation process. Forecasters put a weight on past predictions and the persistence of old information is affected by the size of new economic shocks. The author compares the optimal weight placed on past predictions to information frictions over time for US professional forecasters and find that explore the relationship between the optimal weights the magnitude of shocks.

Chair: Wenhua Di (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

Bridging the Gap between the Deposit Insurance Fund Target Level and the Current Fund Level
Alexander B. Ufier (FDIC), Charles Kusaya (Zimbabwe Deposit Protection Corporation), John P. O’Keefe (Independent Consultant)

Expectation Formation and the Persistence of Shocks
Constantin Burgi (St. Mary’s College of Maryland)

Discussants: Kathleen McDill (FDIC); Chad Fulton, (Federal Reserve Board)

Small Banks: Transition and Crisis

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

Friday Virtual Seminar Series
Friday December 18, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

This seminar is free. Please register at this Zoom link.
We can welcome up to 100 participants.

This session focuses on challenges faced by the banking sector, especially small banks, in the past 20 years. The first paper focuses on loss given default of acquisition, development, and construction loans during the Great Recession and its aftermath (2008-2012) and how those loan defaults contributed to numerous small bank failures. The second paper illustrates how monetary policy affects banks’ decisions to enter local deposit markets and how entry barriers in those markets affect establishments of differing sizes. The third paper explores how the tightening of anti-money laundering enforcement imposed disproportionate costs on small banks, shifting the local banking composition towards larger banks and how that shift affects measures of local economic well-being. The fourth paper studies the effects of changes in business credit during the COVID-19 pandemic comparing the behavior of lenders to that of borrowers during the pandemic compared to prior years and examining differences in credit issued to small and large borrowers, in both good and bad economic conditions.

Chair: Alexander B. Ufier (FDIC)

Loss Given Default for Acquisition, Development and Construction Loans
Lynn Shibut (FDIC), Emily Johnston-Ross (FDIC), Joseph Nichols (Federal Reserve Board)

The Bank Entry Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission
Stefan Lewellen (Penn State University), Emilio Bisetti (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Stephen A. Karolyi (Carnegie Mellon)

Anti-money Laundering Enforcement, Banks, and the Real Economy
Pablo Slutzky (University of Maryland), Senay Agca (George Washington University), Stefan Zeume (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Bank Lending during the Covid-19 Crisis
Teng Wang (Federal Reserve Board of Governors), Allen N. Berger (University of South Carolina), Christa H.S. Bouwman (Texas A&M University), Lars Norden (Getulio Vargas Foundation), Raluca A. Roman (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia), Gregory F. Udell, (Indiana University)

Discussants: Kayla Freeman (University of Georgia), Freddy Cama (Bay Atlantic University), Heath Witzen (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), Chacko George (FDIC)

Small Banks: Transition and Crisis

Economic Well-Being and the Supplemental Poverty Measure – Improvements and Expansion in 2021 and Beyond

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

Friday December 11, 2020, 12-1:45pm ET

This seminar is free.  Pre-registration is required. Register at this Zoom link.
Up to 100 participants.

How can economic well-being and poverty be measured? Ten years ago an interagency technical working group produced guidelines for a supplement to the official poverty measure. This measure is referred to as the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), and for several years now has been published as a product of collaboration by researchers at the BLS and Census Bureau with support from the SPM Interagency Technical Working Group for Implementation (ITWG-SPM).  In this session, researchers from the Census Bureau and BLS will describe planned improvements in the SPM and extensions to include data from more surveys.

Chair:  Connie Citro, National Academy of Sciences

Improvements to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure for 2021
Liana E. Fox & Trudi Renwick* (Census Bureau)

Changes to the Supplemental Poverty Measure Thresholds for 2021
Thesia Garner*, Juan Munoz, & Jake Schild (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The Supplemental Poverty Measure Using the American Community Survey
Brian Glassman & Liana Fox* (Census Bureau), Jose Pacas (U of Minnesota)

Calculating the Supplemental Poverty Measure in the Survey of Income and Program Participation
Lewis Warren*, Liana Fox, Ashley Edwards (Census Bureau)

Discussant: David Johnson (University of Michigan)

(*designated speaker)

Economic Well-Being and the Supplemental Poverty Measure – Improvements and Expansion in 2021 and Beyond

Economics of Vaccines for COVID-19

Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Monday October 5, 2020
5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

This Zoom webinar is free. Register at: Maximum # of participants is 100.

Bhaven Sampat, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ali Moghtaderi, Assistant Professor, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

Bhaven Sampat will discuss how research on vaccines and viruses at the National Institutes of Health has accelerated the progress towards an effective vaccine. Bhaven’s expertise on how public research is translated into private sector results will help us understand the roots of ongoing efforts by companies, such as Moderna, Astra Zeneca, Merck, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer. He has published several articles on how public R&D investment affects private patenting and related topics in Review of Economic Studies, Science, and the American Economic Review

Ali Moghtaderi will discuss issues related to public acceptance of a vaccine, once an effective vaccine has been developed. Ali’s expertise in vaccines, especially Americans’ perspectives on taking the coronavirus vaccine, will help us understand reasons Americans have for not participating. He has published several articles on the economics of vaccines and other health economics topics in Health Affairs, JAMA, and Medical Care.

Leo Sveikauskas, economist at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will moderate this discussion.

Q&A will take place after the presentations.

Economics of Vaccines for COVID-19

Mon 7/27: Online Panel “Housing, Homelessness, and the Pandemic”

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Monday, July 27, 5 – 6:30pm (EST)


  • Andrew Aurand, Vice President for Research, National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • Martha Galvez, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are over 600,000 homeless people in the U.S., at least a third of whom are living on the streets.  The lack of affordable housing and HUD reductions to subsidized low-income housing is now exacerbated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The risk of evictions has risen sharply in the face of massive unemployment.

The seminar panelists will discuss the housing and homeless crises, the impact of the pandemic and innovative policy proposals to house vulnerable people.

  • Dr. Andrew Aurand leads the research team and publishes NLIHC’s annual reports on housing – The Gap and Out of Reach – and policy research. 
  • Ms. Martha Galvez’ research focuses on housing policy intervention impacts on families at the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center.

The Zoom seminar is free, but pre-registration is required.

Please email SGE seminar co-chair Jack Ventura at and provide your name and email.

Pre-registrants will receive sign-in information before the Zoom seminar.

Fri 5/29 noon: Online Panel “Disparities in Access to Higher Education”

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Friday, May 29, 12:00 pm. – 1:15 pm (EST)

Zoom Webinar – Sign-up here:

This webinar presents research on policies that aim to reduce the racial gap in college graduation rates, merit-based admissions to postsecondary institutions, interventions that improve college access for low-income students, and the relationship between college costs and the parental labor supply. The panelists will present their papers in the following order with a time reserved for Q&A at the end.

Understanding Equity Gaps in College Graduation Tomas Monarrez, Urban Institute

Closing the Gap: The Effect of Reducing Complexity and Uncertainty in College Pricing on the Choices of Low-income Students C.J. Libassi, College Board

Admissions Policies, Cohort Composition, and Academic Success: Evidence from California Michel Grosz, Federal Trade Commission

Hope for the Family: The Effects of College Costs on Maternal Labor Supply Breno Braga, Urban Institute

Mon 10/7 eve: Sinclair and Stone on “Probability of the U.S. or World Entering a Recession in 2020”

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Probability of the U.S. or World Entering a Recession in 2020
Monday, October 7, 2019 5:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Rm 483 Ford House Office Building
2nd and D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515
Metro: Federal Center SW Station

Dr. Tara Sinclair, Co-director of the Research Program on Forecasting, George Washington University
Dr. Chad Stone, Chief Economist, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm.    The seminar is free but please email Mel Sacks at for reservations. After panelists have made their presentations, time will be available for Q&A and discussion.

According to the IMF World Economic Outlook global growth is now projected to slow from 3.6 percent in 2018 to 3.3 percent in 2019, before returning to 3.6 percent in 2020. However, possible further disruptions in oil supplies in the Middle East, continued conflicts with Iran, the slowdown in China, uncertainties of Brexit on Britain and the European Union, the economic effects of global warming, or other contingencies may seriously affect growth prospects. In the U.S. a tariff war, especially with China, may help bring about a recession in 2020.

Dr. Chad Stone and Dr. Tara Sinclair will explore the possibilities of recession occurring in the U.S. or internationally in 2020. Please join us for this interesting evening.

Mon 5/13 eve: Meltzer and Destler on “Bilateral v. Multilateral Trade, and Tariffs”

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Bilateral vs. Multilateral Trade, and Tariffs
Monday, May 13, 2019 5:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Rm 483 Ford House Office Building
2nd & D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515
Metro: Federal Center SW Station

Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
I.M. ‘Mac’ Destler, Saul Stern Professor, University of Maryland

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm.    The seminar is free but please email Mel Sacks at for reservations. After panelists have made their presentations, time will be available for Q&A and discussion.

The present administration has made lessening the trade deficit a priority and has imposed tariffs, mainly with China and the European Union, Mexico and Canada if the U.S, trade deficit with those countries has not ameliorated. The target countries have in turn imposed their own tariffs on U.S. goods.  The administration has not pursued multilateral agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and some contend this has left trade with the United States isolated in Asia and other regions.

What effects would a trade war have on the U.S. and the global economies, and would any benefits accrue to the administration’s actions is one of the questions the panelists would attempt to answer.  Joshua Meltzer and I.M. ‘Mac’ Destler will  offer their perspectives and analysis on these issues.

Mon 11/5 eve: Guzzetti, Timothy, and Grossman on “Light Rail Transit”

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Light Rail Transit
Monday, November 5, 2018 5:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Rm 483 Ford House Office Building
2nd & D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515
Metro: Federal Center SW Station


Arthur Guzzetti, Vice President-Policy, American Public Transportation Association

Darren Timothy, Chief Economist, US Department of Transportation

Alice Grossman, Policy Analyst, Eno Center for Transportation

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm. The seminar is free but please email Jack Ventura at for reservations. After panelists have made their presentations, time will be available for Q & A and discussion.

Light rail transit, a descendant as it were of trolley cars or streetcars going back to the 19th century, took the form it’s known as today in the 1970’s. The mode continues to be introduced and extended in many U.S. cities, and often has the advantage of speed, rights-of-way and greater capacity than buses but less expensive than subways. However, questions have arisen as to user demand and efficiency relative to, say, bus rapid transit in terms of cost and reducing urban traffic congestion.

Our panelists will offer their perspectives on these issues, based on work they or their organizations have done.

Art Guzzetti is a 39 year veteran of public transportation at the local, state and national levels. The American Public Transportation Association, where he now serves, is the trade group representing the public transportation industry in the United States. Among other things, he is responsible for APTA’s extensive policy research agenda, policy analysis and development, transportation information and statistics. Prior to coming to APTA in June 1997, Mr. Guzzetti had 16 years in management at two of the nation’s leading public transportation systems: New Jersey Transit, and Port Authority of Allegheny County, plus two years at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. In short, career focus has been on generating support for public transportation and the benefits it provides to communities and regions.

Mr. Guzzetti has a Political Science degree from Edinboro State University, and a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Darren Timothy has served as the Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) since January 2017. In this capacity, he leads the Department’s efforts to apply economic principles and methods in analyses of policies, programs, projects, and regulations produced by the Department and its operating administrations. Dr. Timothy’s prior experience has included positions in academia and consulting as well as other agencies within USDOT, including the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Dr. Timothy holds a B.A. from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Economics

Alice Grossman, as a policy analyst at the Eno Center for Transportation, conducts research in various areas of multimodal transportation. Dr. Grossman has worked extensively on research relating to metropolitan transportation planning and performance measurement, electronic travel diary development, K-12 and higher education in transportation, active transportation safety, and pedestrian infrastructure asset management and accessibility.

Dr. Grossman completed her B.A. at Vassar College in Physics and Astronomy, and her Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Civil Engineering. Dr. Grossman was Eno’s 2017 Thomas J. O’Bryant fellow.

Wed 5/30 Evening: Michael Mandel, “The Surprising Economics of E-Commerce and Brick and Mortar Retail” at 2nd & D SW

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Speaker: Michael Mandel, Chief Economic Strategist, Progressive Policy Institute

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm. The seminar is free but please email Jack Ventura at for reservations.

Abstract of talk:

E-commerce sales are soaring. According to the Census Bureau, they are up 16.4% from the previous year, as against 4.5% for total retail sales. Surprisingly, however, the online shopping boom has been accompanied by the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs at e-commerce fulfillment centers around the country. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retail establishments, rather than cutting back, have been trying to raise the skill level of their employees to differentiate themselves from online.

This seminar will explore the economics of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, focusing on employment, wages, and productivity. It will also deal with the importance of the automation of logistics. What does the continuing shift to e-commerce portend for consumer choice and prices and for the survival and employment of retail stores? Michael Mandel will address these questions.

Dr. Mandel was interviewed on the PBS News Hour on this subject this past year. Besides his position at Progressive Policy Institute, he holds an appointment as senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves as president and founder of South Mountain Economics LLC, which provides expertise on emerging occupations and emerging industries.