Shane's Feed
Nov 22, 2013
via Data Dive

Why the Democrats voted to change the filibuster rules

Yesterday, the Senate voted to change the rule on filibusters, which the minority party can use to block votes from happening. The use of the filibuster by the Republican minority finally spurred Senate Democrats to use what they had been calling the “nuclear option” — voting the filibuster out of existence (supporters of filibuster reform have long called it the “Constitutional option”). ”The now-defunct rule, a symbol of Washington gridlock, has survived dozens of attacks over the years largely because both major political parties like to use it,” Reuters writes.

But in the chart below, you can see the spike in the number of cloture votes (which, if they pass by a three-fifths vote, end a filibuster) since President Obama was elected.

Nov 20, 2013
via Equals

Who is responsible for closing the gender pay gap?

Women respond differently to incentives in the workplace. Does that mean that it’s fair that women make less?

A few weeks ago, economists John List and Uri Gneezy wrote in Freakonomics about a new study they’ve done on the gender pay gap. Currently women make about 80% of what men do, and the paper takes a stab at explaining why.

Nov 20, 2013
via Equals

Hello and welcome to Equals!

Today we’re launching Equals, a new Reuters blog devoted to gender equality and the role women play in the economy. We’ll be tackling subjects like education, workplace performance, competitiveness, pay, and leadership. The topics will encompass virtually any subject that relates to gender differences in economics, finance, and management. The blog will lean heavily on data and new research, as well as the smart voices around the web already contributing to the discussion.

Ideas, tips or complaints? Send them to shane.ferro@thomsonreuters.com.

Nov 20, 2013
via Data Dive

U.S. consumer prices fall 0.1% in October

Consumer prices fell unexpectedly in October by 0.1%, in part due to falling gas prices, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index has increased 1% over the last 12 months, the smallest such increase since October 2009.

Core CPI, which does not account for energy or food prices, rose 0.1%:

This level of inflation means that the Fed is likely to put off the tapering of asset purchases in its quantitative easing program at least through early 2014, according to Reuters. The Fed has an inflation target of 2%, but inflation has been consistently below that level.  Reuters has more details:

Nov 19, 2013
via Counterparties

Cryptpcurrent events

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

Yesterday, the Senate, considering the decentralized cryptocurrency bitcoin, “saw the potential benefits of virtual currencies” according to Danny Vinik. In a letter to Congress ahead of the hearings, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said virtual currencies “may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system”. Bitcoin is currently valued at… well, just head over to Mt. Gox and check for yourself because the price has fluctuated between $500 and $900 in the last three days.

Nov 19, 2013
via Data Dive

The U.S.’s tame wage inflation

High unemployment and a slow economic recovery are keeping wages from rising quickly, Reuters reports on new labor cost data. “Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, rose 0.3 percent in the third quarter after gaining 0.4 percent in the prior period,” Reuters writes. Here’s more: 

The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, increased 0.4 percent after advancing 0.5 percent in the second quarter, the Labor Department said on Tuesday.

Nov 14, 2013
via Counterparties

Awash in fuel

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

The average price of a gallon of gas in the US this week is $3.19, and it’s been been falling since Labor Day, when it hit $3.60. The falling price caused one research firm to up its third-quarter GDP forecast by 0.3 percentage points to 2.7%.

Nov 13, 2013
via Counterparties

Lifeline guarantee

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

Swiss voters will soon take up the question of whether the country’s citizens should have a guaranteed basic income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per year, after a grassroots campaign came up with the 100,000 signatures required to hold a nationwide referendum. Annie Lowrey reports that this idea — giving every living adult a check every month regardless of their employment situation — is gaining popularity, even in the United States. “Certain wonks on the libertarian right and liberal left have come to a strange convergence around the idea,” she writes.

Nov 13, 2013
via Data Dive

Europe’s battle against deflation, the market impact

Last week, Counterparties rounded-up the growing fears of deflation in Europe, as the European Central Bank’s surprise rate cut to stave off that threat.  Today, Reuters has more:

The threat of deflation in the euro zone could reverse a major investment trend of 2013, drawing funds out of stocks and into government bonds and cash.

Nov 11, 2013
via Counterparties

Growing pains

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

At the IMF’s research conference last week, three Fed economists examined America’s economic wounds. A paper, by Dave Reifschneider, William Wascher, and David Wilcox, studied whether the economy has been permanently damaged by the effects of the financial crisis. Economists call it “hysteresis”, a concept coined in 1986 by Larry Summers and Oliver Blanchard, in a seminal work on the European labor market.