Where Teenagers Run The Economy | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Where Teenagers Run The Economy

Play associated audio

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. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

WWI Diaries Of Poet Siegfried Sassoon Go Public For First Time

Nearly a dozen notebooks and journals by the author, who fought in the British Army during the war, are being released to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict.
NPR

Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.
WAMU 88.5

McDonnell Corruption Trial: Defense Zeroes In On Star Witness' Credibility

Defense attorney William Burck is focusing on inconsistencies in what Jonnie Williams told investigators as well as his stock dealings.
NPR

Simmering Online Debate Shows Emoji Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

A report from a local Philadelphia TV station is re-igniting a debate and getting people all up in arms. (Or should we say, up in hands?)

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.