Since his arrival at the start of 2016, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari has had the bank look at ways to fix two big problems in the American economy — that some big banks pose a risk to its sustained growth and that opportunities do not flow equally to people.
The bank produced a legislative action plan to fix the too-big-to-fail problem of giant banks. It helped more than two dozen scholars conduct research on opportunity inequalities and will expand that work next year.
Now, the city of Minneapolis is providing a new opportunity for the bank's research. The city's new minimum-wage law requires an ongoing study of its effect. The Minneapolis Fed joined the bidding to do the work, and it won.
"We feel this is a very important role we can play bringing real analytical horsepower and complete neutrality to bear," Kashkari said.
The work, expected to last eight years, could yield one of the most comprehensive sets of data and research material on the effects of the minimum wage that U.S. economists have ever seen.
"We're going to do the analysis dispassionately," Kashkari said. "We're going to fully publish both our methods and our findings and let people criticize what we do, let them take their shots. If we can learn from the feedback and improve our methods, wonderful."