- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2005


Better research is needed to gauge the success of programs that aim to lift communities out of poverty and improve housing for the poor, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday.

Despite nearly four decades of federal and other programs to bring this about, there is a dearth of data on what strategies have and haven’t worked, the Fed chief told a community development conference meeting in Washington.

“If communities are going to be empowered, they need hard evidence of their successes and, yes, hard evidence of their failures, which, as you know, can point the way toward success,” Mr. Greenspan said in prepared remarks.

“To date, systematic research on community economic development programs has been limited,” he said.

“One of your challenges then is to expand the information about the impact of your activities so that you can demonstrate the viability of your efforts and replicate local models of success for the benefit of other communities and families.”

Mr. Greenspan in the past has made similar remarks about the need for more research on community development programs.

In his remarks, Mr. Greenspan did not discuss the state of the economy or talk about interest rate policy.

Fed policy-makers meet next on Tuesday. Many economists are predicting policy-makers will boost interest rates by one-quarter percentage point at that time to keep the economy and inflation on an even keel. Since June 2004, the Fed has increased rates six times, each in modest, quarter-point increments.

On the community development front, Mr. Greenspan said that anecdotal information can be useful. But that shouldn’t be relied upon to measure a given program’s effectiveness.

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