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You may not spare much time thinking about the Federal Reserve, but interest rates set by the federal bank affect Americans’ everyday finances in many ways – from their mortgage rates to the credit card interest they have to pay.

And, as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank taught us, interest rate hikes made by the Federal Reserve Bank can do more than bring down inflation – they also made some banks’ bond holdings less valuable and ultimately helped destabilize the banking sector.

So when the Fed voted last Wednesday to raise interest rates by a small margin, our business desk asked a team of economists and financial experts to evaluate how well the Fed threaded the needle between curbing inflation and triggering a recession.

Later this week we’ll bring you stories about public forests designed to grow free food, 3D-printed buildings and curing disease with gene editing.

Emily Costello

Managing Editor

Readers' picks

Acts of secession are happening across the U.S. Vector Illustration/Getty Images

Secession is here: States, cities and the wealthy are already withdrawing from America

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston

Secession talk evokes fears of a second Civil War. But one scholar says secession is already happening in the US under a variety of guises.

Editors' picks

Fed chair Jerome Powell opted for a cautious approach on rates. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Reserve bows to bank-crisis fears with quarter-point rate hike, letting up a little in its fight against inflation

Jeffery S. Bredthauer, University of Nebraska Omaha; Arabinda Basistha, West Virginia University; Joerg Bibow, Skidmore College; Marketa Wolfe, Skidmore College

The Fed raised rates by a quarter-point – less aggressive than had been expected before the current banking crisis, but signaling inflation is still its focus.

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