The Federal Reserve Board offers a dedicated, technology-rich research environment to support economists and other staff in carrying out work that informs the Board's policies and programs.
Board economists are supported by research assistants who usually have undergraduate degrees, primarily in economics, but also in related fields such as statistics, mathematics, finance, or computer science. Research assistants generally have training in econometrics, mathematical statistics, or both, as well as good computer skills--especially a facility with the range of statistical packages available at the Board. Most importantly, research assistants are eager to apply their quantitative skills to real-world policy issues and to research projects both as an input into the policy process and for publication in peer-reviewed outlets.
In addition, the professionally staffed Research Library has both reference and data librarians who can provide time-saving and accurate research assistance on site or remotely to individual economists and to research teams. Librarians also provide guidance on searching desktop tools and facilitating access to content via mobile devices. The Research Library has an extensive and dynamic collection of electronic resources, including thousands of e-journals and e-books, as well as a unique collection of over 60,000 print volumes.
Board economists conduct research and other analysis on high-performance computer servers, which run both Linux and Windows operating systems. These servers offer a full suite of econometric and statistical software packages on both platforms.1Economists and technical staff regularly review and improve, as needed, the capacity and speed of processors and the range of software available to Board economists for their research.
Several hundred datasets covering a range of topics from micro-level banking/financial data to aggregate macroeconomic time series statistics are available for use by economists in their research. While some data are accessed through a commercial data provider or a web interface and handled by individual researchers and their research assistants, most data—particularly very large data sets—are brought in-house and are managed by professional data staff. The Board provides a Hadoop cluster to process and analyze extremely large datasets.
1. Common packages include Matlab, S-Plus, Mathematica, SAS, Stata, EViews, R, Gauss, TSP, RATS, PCGive, Limdep, X12ARIMA, the NAG subroutine library, and the IMSL subroutine library. Available programming languages include C, C , Perl, Python, PHP, Java, Fortran, TCL/Tk, and Icon, as well as assorted development tools. Return to text