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What is the High School Fed Challenge Championship?

It is an unforgettable experience in economic analysis, monetary policy decision making, public speaking and teamwork. For participants, it's a 25-minute presentation by a team of three to five high school students representing their school in the Federal Reserve's Second District.

The team's performance consists of two parts: a 12-minute presentation on the economy—modeled after those made by Federal Reserve decisionmakers—and a 13-minute Q&A session. The format of the presentation is flexible; however, each team's presentation must:

  • address current economic conditions;
  • forecast near-term changes in economic and financial conditions of critical importance to monetary policy (such as unemployment, inflation, and output);
  • identify possible economic, financial, and international issues that might present either positive or negative risks to the economy;
  • recommend a monetary policy response; and

  • write a statement, modeled on the FOMC statement that states the policy decision and communicates the Committee's thinking and reasons.

A Q&A session follows each presentation. Although judges may ask about any relevant topic, they generally ask the following types of questions:

  • Questions about the required charts, for example: "Define the unemployment rate and what does it tell us about current resource utilization and output gap in the economy?"

  • Follow-up questions related to data, analysis, or recommendations made during the team presentation, such as "Explain your argument that the Fed should not be concerned about possible deflation."
  • Macroeconomic and monetary policy questions, for example, "Is there always a trade-off between inflation and unemployment?"
  • Hypothetical questions, like "Suppose GDP declined for the next two quarters; how would that change your monetary policy recommendation?"
  • Fed-related questions, such as "Should the Fed have a specific inflation target and, if so, should it make that target explicit?"

Schools can enter one team in either of two divisions:

  • Competitive division—Teams are scored by a panel of judges, and winners advance to the next round of presentations; or
  • Instructional division—Rules are the same, but teams do not receive a score and  have more time with the judges for coaching and feedback.
In either division, Fed Challenge participants develop skills—the ability to think analytically, to make effective presentations, to work as a team—that are valuable for life.