Periodically, events occur in the domestic and global economies that remind agricultural economists that macroeconomics matter. This was evident in the early 1980s when the Federal Reserve responded to double-digit inflation by driving interest rates to post–World War II period highs. The Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, rising oil prices this past decade, and current stress in domestic and overseas financial markets serve to remind us again that externalities can have an effect on the economic performance and financial strength of U.S. agriculture. These effects are transmitted through interest rates, inflation, unemployment, real gross domestic product, and exchange rates.


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