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Why Opportunity and Inclusion Matter to America’s Economic Strength

May 23, 2017 / Source: FRB

Speech

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May 22, 2017

Governor Lael Brainard

At the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Conference, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

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I want to thank Neel Kashkari for launching the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute and for inviting me to join the deliberations of this distinguished group today. This new Institute is another great example of how individual Reserve Banks are taking the initiative in illuminating key dimensions of our work and shaping the agenda of the Federal Reserve System.1

While it has long been understood that opportunity is central to the strength of America's social fabric, it is now increasingly clear that opportunity and inclusion are central to the strength of America's economy. I will touch on the key ways that opportunity and inclusion matter for policymaking at the Federal Reserve, ranging from our dual-mandate goal of maximum employment to our monitoring of household financial health to our engagement in low- and moderate-income communities all over the country. I will focus on how our work intersects with the groundbreaking work of the accomplished group of researchers assembled here.

In the original design of the Federal Reserve, it was recognized that the American economy is not monolithic; that is why the Congress created our system of 12 Federal Reserve Districts. We are present in communities all across America through our Reserve Banks and Branches and their boards and advisory councils. This local presence, by design, gives us valuable perspectives on how Americans are experiencing the economy in different communities around the country and critical insights about the varied challenges that lie beneath the aggregate numbers. In turn, our local engagement helps stakeholders in these communities partner to improve opportunity and inclusive growth.

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1. These remarks represent my own views, which do not necessarily represent those of the Federal Reserve Board or the Federal Open Market Committee. Return to text