COBE students meet the Fed Challenge

Four Radford University economics majors participated in the College Fed Challenge, a competition for students to present their analyses of economic conditions and recommend an appropriate course for monetary policy.

RU competed with 12 other Virginia colleges and universities in a preliminary round of the competition, held Nov. 9, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The RU team was not among the three teams to advance to the next round.

Participants, including RU students Bryton Bullins, Evan Carty, Jeffrey Raiford and Evan Thomas, were tasked with formulating a set of recommendations for the Federal Reserve Board to adopt in order to maximize economic growth.

Students delivered 20-minute presentations on monetary policy and were scored on content, teamwork, responses to questions, presentation and style. Judges of the content portion included members of the bank's research staff.

"The RU team's recommendations to the panel of judges were well received," said Kiertisak Toh, an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics in RU's College of Business and Economics (COBE). "They were nuanced, evidence-based and integrating fiscal considerations and possible downside risks in the Euro area that potentially could lead to deflation. The team took a global perspective. They discussed possible financial contagion and spillovers from the Euro area."

For their presentation, the RU team "examined trends internationally and how the Federal Reserve affects the global financial market," said Thomas, a senior from Ashburn. "It was in our opinion that the global economy is in dire need of assistance in order to prevent another global financial crisis. However, the Federal Reserve is limited in the ways it can affect the international financial arena."


RU economics majors (from left) Evan Carty, Bryton Bullins, Evan Thomas and Jeffrey Raiford participated in the College Fed Challenge at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Therefore, the team "suggested that the monetary policies adopted should keep the global economy in mind while creating current and future macroeconomic policies," explained Thomas, who is president of the RU Economics Student Association and a COBE Ambassador.

Thomas said he gained valuable knowledge "about macroeconomics and specifically monetary policy" and experience through participating in the competition.

"I enjoyed coming together with other students and talking about economics, something that I rarely have the chance to do," Thomas said. "It was so much fun working with all the guys and not only making new friends, but also furthering our knowledge on the topic overall. The Fed Challenge highlighted the positive externalities that arise when working with others and how much you can learn from one another without even noticing it."

Toh said the competition was "a good learning experience" and "a good practice for stewardship and public resources."

In a Dec. 2 news release announcing Pace University as the 2014 national winner, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen said "students' participation in the Fed Challenge adds to their understanding of the economy and the Federal Reserve's role, and, I hope, spurs some students to pursue further study of economics and finance. In addition, the research, analytical and communication skills that participants gain through their preparations will help them in whatever careers they choose."

In examining the Federal Reserve, Thomas said he "learned a lot about economic policy making as well as the implications of those policies. Overall, I don't think I can even begin to describe how much I really learned from the Federal Reserve Challenge experience."

Dec 9, 2014