Politico: What taxi data shows about the Fed’s contact with bankers

Politico, March 5, 2018: What taxi data shows about the Fed’s contact with bankers

Contact between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and six of the largest U.S. banks seems to increase around the Fed’s key interest-rate-setting meetings, according to a new academic study that raises questions about whether this could give top Wall Street institutions an unfair competitive edge.

The study, from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, examines granular data on cab rides released by New York’s taxi regulator. It singles out lunchtime trips between the New York Fed and the major offices of six banks: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon and Bank of America.

It also includes potential off-site meetups by factoring in “coincidental drop-offs,” where someone from the New York Fed and someone from a bank each appeared to be dropped off at the same location around the same time.

Lunchtime coincidental drop-offs happened about 50 percent more often between when an important meeting of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee started through the following week, according to the study written by David Andrew Finer. That’s an average of about 1.2 more taxi rides per meeting.


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