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Richmond Fed Magazine Econ Focus Reports on the Economics of Securing Digital Payments

RICHMOND, VA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/25/14 -- The convenience of debit and credit cards has come with the risk of cyberattacks and fraud. Hacking of payment systems has led not only to direct costs for financial institutions and retail businesses, but also damage to company reputations and stock prices. Yet making systems more secure isn't free, either -- and the companies that would bear the cost of upgrading aren't necessarily the ones that would benefit. The cover story in the latest issue of Econ Focus looks at these and other economic problems involved in payment security.

Also in this issue:

  • Not all inequality is equal. Many studies show that income inequality in the United States is high and increasing, but not everyone agrees about what the data mean, or even whether income is the best way to look at economic inequality. There's also disagreement on inequality's effects.
  • How the Fed chair matters. Although the Fed sets monetary policy by committee, the views of the chair have often carried outsized weight in decisionmaking. Throughout the Fed's history, central bank leaders have provided intellectual guidance during crises, defended policy independence, and served as points of communication for the public.
  • From loophole to mandate. More than half of the U.S. population is covered by health insurance received through employment. Employer-tied health insurance grew quickly after key policy and tax changes in the 1940s and 1950s, but critics argue that the system distorts incentives and has contributed to rising health care costs.
  • Interview with monetary historian Richard Timberlake on how the Fed went astray during the Depression, the role of the Fed in dealing with asset bubbles, and alternatives to fiat money.

Econ Focus is the economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. It covers economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District (the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia) and the nation.

For a free subscription to Econ Focus or for copies of the magazine, contact the Bank's Research Publications division at (800) 322-0565 or subscribe online. The articles are available online at http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/index.cfm.

David A. Price
Senior Editor, Econ Focus
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Phone: (804) 697-8018
Email Contact

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