Some future Alan Greenspan may be getting a taste of what it's like to set monetary policy as one result of a high school program sponsored by the Federal Reserve.
The Fed Challenge is a competition in which five-student teams are judged on how well they direct the economy in mock Federal Open Market Committee deliberations.
Teams competing in the New York, Dallas, Boston, and Richmond Federal Reserve districts have moved through the first round of competition.
The students who won in those cities will come to Washington for the final round in late April - and let the interest rates fall where they may. To lend an authentic feeling to the competition, the finalists will meet in the board room where the real central bankers deliberate.
The judges at the final competition will include Cathy Minehan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Robert McTeer, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, among other Fed officials.
The New York Fed held the first such competition last year for students from the New York City metropolitan area. Its success spurred the bank to invite other districts to join in this year.
"We saw that we could use the Fed Challenge as a vehicle to raise the understanding of economics and perhaps provide a feeder pool of American students zeroing in on careers in economics," said Kathleen A. O'Neil, executive vice president in charge of the New York Fed's corporate group.
Steven Malin, the bank's assistant vice president of public information, said this year's students have been "taking his breath away" with the depth of their knowledge.
Mr. Malin also was impressed by a 1995 competitor.
"One of last year's students, Gabriella Skirnisk, said that when she grows up she wants to be an Alan Greenspan," Mr. Malin said. "Now she's at Harvard, and one of the first things she did there was to call the Boston Fed and encourage them to participate in this year's competition."
Mr. Smith writes for Medill News Service.