On October 30th, several Wake Forest economics students traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to represent Wake for the first time in the Federal Reserve Challenge. Teams from eleven colleges from North and South Carolina competed for a spot in the regional finals by presenting their perspective on the U.S. economy and recommending a course for monetary policy.
Seniors Pearson Lien, Byron McClendon, and Lee Larson along with sophomore Greg Giovannoli started meeting as a team early last semester. Professor Sandeep Mazumder organized the team and helped them prepare for the presentation. They examined trends in the major macroeconomic indicators of growth, unemployment, and inflation, as well as prospective sources of economic instability from crises in China and Europe.
The team presented their findings and recommendation that the Federal Reserve increase interest rates from the current zero-bound level. The team scored higher than the average in their very first competition. Although they were disappointed not to win and advance to the next round, presenting at UNC was a valuable experience and should help Wake Forest become even more competitive in the future.
The opportunity to learn about current events in economics was particularly educational for the team members, who gained a holistic understanding of recent trends in the American economy. In addition, the challenge improved the presentation and data visualization skills of the students, who created their own charts and graphs for their presentation.
The team would like to thank Dr. Mazumder and the economics department for enabling their participation in the Federal Reserve Challenge.