Current Weather
The Spy FM

Where Teenagers Run The Economy

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
May 11, 2012

Every spring, high school students descend on the headquarters of the New York Federal Reserve, a few blocks from Wall Street in downtown Manhattan. They compete to see who does the best impression of a central banker.

The High School Fed Challenge is a big deal. Schools like Montclair High in Montclair, New Jersey have multiple rounds of tryouts just to get on the team. Then they practice for months.

Montclair won the championship last year. This year, their challengers include a team from Ridgefield, Ct. A team so steeped in Fedspeak, that they frequently find themselves using Feddy words like “robust” and “well-anchored.”

Here’s how it works. Fifteen teams go before real live Federal Reserve economists. They have to diagnose the economy and set Fed policy.

The students are clearly very good at parroting Ben Bernanke. But they also seem to have a solid grasp of what the economy means for their own lives.

Kevin O’Rourke, a member of the Ridgefield team, pointed out that the Fed has said it will hold down interest rates until 2014.

“We don’t get out of college until 2016,” he said. “We’re fine going through college with a bad economy, as long as we get out and we have jobs.”

Obviously, putting the words “Fed Challenge” on a college application looks impressive. But there’s also a sense that understanding all this stuff really matters right now. In the finals, the students answer questions about things the people who run the Fed are debating right now — from quantitative easing to the outlook for inflation.

In the end, Montclair won — again.

The team from Ridgefield got an honorable mention trophy to bring back to the school. They said they probably wouldn’t put it in the case with all the sports trophies. Instead, it’s more likely to go in the economics room, where it’s more likely to be appreciated. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center