The Scout Report for Business & Economics - January 15, 1998

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

January 15, 1998

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Business & Economics is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in business and economics. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the field that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given area of study.

The Scout Report for Business & Economics is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue
The Scout Report
* Research * Current Awareness
* Learning Resources * New Data
* General Interest * In the News

Bank of Japan [.pdf]
Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies [.pdf]
The Bank of Japan serves as Japan's central bank. The web site contains publications such as Quarterly Economic Outlook, Balance of Payments Monthly, and Economic Statistics Monthly. Visitors can also find press releases, Governor's speeches and statistics on prices, money, interest rates, exchange rates, and the Bank of Japan accounts. The Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies "conducts fundamental research on various economic and financial issues from a long-term policy perspective." Publications available at the web site include Monetary and Economic Studies and Discussion Papers. There is also a virtual currency museum which traces the development of the Japanese currency. [THN]
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Canadian Competition Policy Page
The Canadian Competition Policy Page is provided by the Simon Fraser University-University of British Columbia Centre for the Study of Government & Business. It aims to provide information on competition law and economics in Canada and around the world. The site contains links to documents on competition law and agencies responsible for enforcing the law. The highlight of the site is the merger simulation which "combine[s] certain assumptions about the nature of competition in the market with some pre merger market data to predict the impact of the merger on important variables such as price, consumers' surplus and total welfare." [THN]
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Institute for Business and Professional Ethics
The Institute for Business and Professional Ethics is based in DePaul University. It aims to "foster ethical behavior" by "teaching and training individuals to think before they act." The site contains the latest issue of the Online Journal of Ethics and also an archive of past issues. Visitors to the site can also find a calendar of forthcoming ethics conferences, academic job announcements, publishers, and grants and fellowships. In addition, the newsletter for the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics is also available. [THN]
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Environmental Economics Unit Australia [.pdf]
The Environmental Economics Unit is part of the Australian Department of Environment, and serves to provide advice on environmental policies. The site provides several useful publications (available in text, Adobe Acrobat [.pdf], or both formats) on environmental economics including Techniques to Value Environmental Resources: an Introductory Handbook,Estimating the Value of Australia's Native Forests,Subsidies to the Use of Natural Resources,More with Less: Initiatives to Promote Sustainable Consumption, and Environmental Incentives: Australian Experience with Economic Instruments for Environmental Management. There is also a collection of papers from the Environmental Economics Round Table Proceedings series. [THN]
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JSTOR Adds Two Economics Journals
Journal of Applied Econometrics v. 1-6, 1986-1991
Journal of Industrial Economics v. 1-39, 1952-1991
List of Participating Academic Institutions
The full text of Journal of Applied Econometrics (v. 1-6, 1986-1991) and Journal of Industrial Economics (1-39, 1952-1991) are now available online at JSTOR. Visitors can search or browse the journals. Note: access to JSTOR contents is currently available only on a site licence basis to academic institutions. A list of institutions with site licenses is available. [JS]
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Learning Resources
This web site is developed by Dryden Press to supplement the economics textbook Economics: Private and Public Choice, by James D. Gwartney and Richard L. Stroup. Users can find annotated links to Internet resources organized by the chapters in the textbook. The resources cover topics such as the US economy, unemployment and inflation, monetary policy, trade, and the international monetary system, among others. [THN]
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Management Science Techniques for Consultants
Michael Trick, Associate Professor of Industrial Administration at Carnegie-Mellon University, has designed a course to give consultants (and others who want to improve their quantitative skills) an introduction to a variety of useful techniques in management science, with an emphasis on practicality. The course covers sensitivity analysis, solving large problems, integer programming, heuristic decision-making, genetic algorithms/neural networks, relaxations, network models, data envelopment analysis, scenario optimization and multiple objective decision making. In addition to the class notes, the site also contains the homework for the class. [THN]
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Marketing on the Internet
Marketing on the Internet is a course taught by Dr. Charles F. Hofacker, Professor of Marketing at Florida State University. The site provides all the materials used in the class including class schedule, syllabus, lecture notes, homework, exercises and case studies. The topics covered in the class are communicating with consumers online, computer mediated selling, and providing web content. [THN]
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SticiGui HyperText [Java]
SticiGui (Statistical Toolbox for Internet and Classroom Instruction with a Graphical User Interface) Hypertext is provided by Phillip B. Stark, Associate Professor of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley. SticiGui Hypertext aims to be an interactive web-based course on introductory statistics. The course is divided into four parts: descriptive statistics, probability, estimation and inference, and game theory. The site contains many Java applets that students can use to help them understand the statistical concepts. In addition, there is also glossary of statistical terms. [THN]
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General Interest
AgriBiz Options Calculator and Database [Java]
Agribiz is provided by Frank Beurskens Consulting, Inc. It aims to organize "information and resources available on the Internet, specific to the global agricultural trading community." At the site, users will find an "Article and Trade News" section containing links to various sources of agricultural news. In the "Markets and Analysis" section, visitors will find links to price quotes and research reports on various agricultural commodities. The site provides an Interactive Options Pricing Calculator, developed by AgriBiz and the Office for Futures and Options Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, that estimates the price of agricultural options. Visitors can also learn about weekly crop conditions and weather reports from around the United States and the world. [THN]
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The Dolans [RealAudio]
The Dolans web site provides users with financial advice. Most of the content is taken from their morning show on CBS TV. They also provide advice on retirement, living, investment, home, and taxes. The retirement section contains both an inflation calculator and an IRA calculator. In the home section, there is a mortgage calculator to help you estimate your monthly payment. Ken Dolan also provides a daily commentary on financial news (RealAudio format). [THN]
[Back to Contents] on fn and Intuit, Inc. jointly developed the on fn site. It offers "up-to-the-minute financial information combined with powerful financial management tools." It is divided into seven sections, Banking, Home & Auto, Investing, Live, Saving, Taxes, and Tips & Tools. Visitors to the site will be able to search for the best bank and credit card rates, plan their retirement, and compare insurance quotes. They can also find regular features on personal finance. [THN]
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Mutual Funds Interactive
Mutual Funds Interactive is provided by Brill Editorial Services, Inc. The aim of the site is to provide independent financial advice to investors. The highlight of the site is the expert's corner, where leading mutual fund experts provide market analysis, opinions and recommendations. There are also profiles of mutual funds managers and columns on mutual funds. For new investors, there is Funds 101, which helps explain what a mutual fund is. The site also features discussion groups, a glossary of mutual fund terms and a list of mutual funds. [THN]
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American Express Small Business Exchange
The aim of the American Express Small Business Exchange is to "provide small business owners with valuable information and resources on learning how to start, effectively manage, and expand their small business." In the Business Planning and Resources section, visitors can find tips on starting, managing and expanding their businesses both domestically and internationally. The Promote your Business section allows visitors to browse through a small business directory and also advertise items for sale through online classifieds. Visitors with specific questions can post their question in the Expert Advice area. [THN]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on periodicals, journals, working papers, new books, etc., visit the Business & Economics Current Awareness Metapage:

The Economic and Budget Outlook for Fiscal Years 1999-2008: A Preliminary Report--CBO
Select: Economic and Budget Projections/Economic and Budget Outlook and Updates/The Economic and Budget Outlook for Fiscal Years 1999-2008: A Preliminary Report
This US Congressional Budget Office Preliminary Report contains an optimistic projection for the federal budget, claiming that it will be in balance for the next ten years. It "projects single-digit deficits for fiscal years 1998, 1999, and 2000, followed by a small surplus in 2001 and growing surpluses through 2008." The report is one of the bases of much congressional wrangling about what to do with this surplus. [JS]
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Working Papers
IMF Working Papers [.pdf]
IMF Papers on Policy Analysis and Assessment [.pdf]
The International Monetary Fund has released fourteen new working papers (WP/97/161 to WP/97/174). They deal with topics such as systematic bank restructuring, the determinants of trade dynamics, and the economic conditions of middle-income developing countries. IMF has also released four new papers on Policy Analysis and Assessment (PPAA 97/7-97/11). These papers examine the issues of operating a currency board, impact of privatization and obstacles to growth and business in Russia. [THN]

OECD Working Papers [.pdf]
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Working Papers No. 185 and 186 are available. They are submissions to the UK Low Pay Commission and Irish National Minimum Wage Commission respectively. [THN]

Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Working Papers [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Working Papers [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Papers [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Discussion Papers [.pdf, .ps]
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Staff Reports [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Working Papers [.pdf]
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has released seven new working papers (97-11 to 97-17), covering such topics as derivatives and risk management in the insurance industry, the welfare cost of inflation, and macroeconomic fluctuations in Europe. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has released Working Paper No. No. 97-8, "The Subsidy from State and Local Tax Deductibility: Trends, Methodological Issues, and Its Value," by Robert Tannenwald. It discusses the "marginal 'tax price' of state and local goods." The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released five working papers (9712 to 9716) that discuss such topics as tax reform, interest rate option pricing, and electronic money. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released Discussion Paper 125, "The Demand for Money by Firms: Some Additional Empirical Results," by Casey B. Mulligan, and Staff Report 242, "Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity," by Edward C. Prescott. They discuss a comparison of cash held as a percentage of sales by large and small firms, and the effect of differences in physical capital on differences in international incomes respectively. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released four new Staff Reports (No. 33 to No. 36) covering topics such as national savings, value-at-risk models and industry production functions. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has released eight new working papers (97-20 to 97-25, 97-27 and 97-28) covering issues such as forecasting, economic growth in Argentina, measuring predictability, and "regional employment dynamics." [THN]

Economic Research Service--USDA
Do the Poor Pay More for Food?: Item Selection and Price Differences Affect Low-Income Household Food Costs [.pdf]
The United States Department of Agriculture's ERS has recently released this Agricultural Economic Report (AER-759), which argues that low-income households spend less on a per-unit basis than other households. [JS]
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OECD Policy Brief
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has released the second issue of Policy Brief. This issue looks at the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) currently being negotiated in the OECD. The aim of the MAI is to "provide a comprehensive and stable framework for international investment," and hence to enhance growth. The Policy Brief "describes the main features of the MAI, explains the background to the negotiations and addresses the concerns that have been raised." [THN]

Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston--New England Economic Review [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Agricultural Letter [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Fed Letter [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic Perspectives [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Current Issues in Economics and Finance [.pdf]
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has released the November/December 1997 issue of the New England Economic Review. It discusses such topics as Social Security reform, model error, and the effect of the US savings rate on investment. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has released the December 1997 issue of the Agricultural Letter, which highlights US agricultural exports. It has also released the January 1998 issue of the Fed Letter, which looks at the growth in employment in the Midwest, and the November/December 1997 issue of Economic Perspectives, which asks the question "Where is the market going?" The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Current Issues in Economics and Finance has released two issues (Vol. 3, No. 14 and 15) that discuss New York City's unemployment situation and inflation's effects on the labor market respectively. [JS]

World Bank
Finance and Development [.pdf]
Text Only Home Page
The December 1997 edition of the World Bank's Finance and Development is now available. It examines the issues of effective aid and capital markets in developing countries, monetary theory, and productivity growth in the United States and Canada among others. Issues 102 and 103 of Findings cover foreign ownership in selective countries in Africa and Lesotho's garment industry respectively. [THN]
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Books and Journals
Baker & Taylor Latest Books in Business--January 1998
Baker & Taylor Latest Books in Economics--January 1998
Baker & Taylor has made available a list of forthcoming books to be published in February in the fields of economics and business. [THN]

Institute for International Economics
The Institute for International Economics has two new publications available. Global Competition Policy is edited by Edward M. Graham and J. David Richardson. The book examines competition policy in Western Europe, North America, and the Far East. Unfinished Business: Telecommunications After the Uruguay Round, is edited by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Erika Wada. It discusses the future of world telecommunications. Ordering information is available at the site. [THN]

Abstracts for the latest issues of Journal of Accounting and Economics (Vol. 23 No. 3), Journal of Econometrics (Vol. 82, No. 2, and Vol. 83, No. 1-2), Journal of Empirical Finance (Vol. 5 No. 1), and Journal of Financial Economics (Vol. 46 No. 1-3), are now available. [THN]

Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics
The Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics is published by the Department of Economics, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil. The aim of the journal is to publish original articles in the areas of "economics of the Internet, network economics, and economics of information." The site provides the full text of the articles in the journal. [THN]
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Academy of Management 1998 Annual Meeting
The Academy of Management will be holding its 1998 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California from August 9 to August 12, 1998. The theme of the meeting is "What Matters Most." [THN]

1998 World Innovation and Strategy Conference
The 1998 World Innovation and Strategy Conference will be held in Sydney, Australia from August 2 to August 5, 1998. The theme of the conference is "Strategic and organisational priorities promoting and managing innovation for world class performance." [THN]

CREC Conference on Electronic Marketplace and Economics
The Center for Research in Electronic Commerce (CREC) at the University of Texas at Austin is organizing the Conference on Electronic Marketplace and Economics. The conference will be held at Austin, Texas from February 16-17, 1998. The conference aims at "providing an integrated perspective on the digital commerce." [THN]
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Job Openings in Economics from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Job Openings in Business and Management from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Job Openings for Economists (JOE)--December 1997
The December issue of the online Job Openings for Economists, a joint project of the American Economic Association (AEA) and the Economics Department at the University of Texas, is available. [JS]
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New Data
(For links to additional sources of new data see the Business & Economics Current Awareness Metapage:

Federal Reserve Board of Governors--(FRB BOG)
Foreign Exchange Rates (G. 5)--January 1998
Selected Interest Rates (G. 13)--January 1998 [.pdf]
Consumer Credit (G. 19)--January 1998
Finance Companies (G. 20)--January 1998
The US Federal Reserve Board of Governors has released the latest figures for foreign exchange rates, interest rates, consumer credit and finance companies. [THN]
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Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Institution Directory
The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has released the third quarter 1997 issue of the Institution Directory. It provides "demographic data and financial profiles derived from quarterly reports filed with Federal regulators for each FDIC-insured institution." [THN]
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Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services--October 1997
The US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis has released the October 1997 figures for International Trade in Goods and Services. The latest data shows that the goods deficit declined by $1.5 billion from September while the services surplus increased by $0.1 billion. [THN]
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Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Producer Price Index--December 1997
Consumer Price Index--December 1997
Real Earnings--December 1997
The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the December 1997 figures for the Producer Price Index (PPI), the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and Real Earnings. [THN]
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IMF Primary Commodity Prices [.pdf]
The Commodities and Special Issues Division of the International Monetary Fund makes available annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly tables covering primary commodity prices. Length of time series vary and tables are available in Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format only. [JS]
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The Livingston Survey: December 1997--FRB Philadelphia
The December 1997 release of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Livingston Survey, the "oldest continuous survey of economists' expectations" is available. The site contains semi-annual survey results back to 1995, along with several historical tables and documentation. [JS]
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In the News
Reforming Social Security
Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan before the Task Force on Social Security of the Committee on the Budget
The 1997 OASDI Trustees Report
Social Security Privatization
A Brief Guide to Social Security Reform
Social Security Privatization in Britain: Key Lessons for America's Reformers
Privatizing Social Security: The Troubling Trade-Offs
Social Security: From Ponzi Scheme to Shell Game
Privatizing Social Security: The Wall Street Fix
Select: "Privatizing Social Security: The Wall Street Fix"
This week's In the News looks at the efforts to reform Social Security. The eight resources above provide an overview of the various proposals that have been advanced to ensure continued viability of Social Security. The Social Security system currently collects more in taxes than benefits paid out, with the excess held in the Trust Fund. But this is expected to change in 2014 when the baby boomers and increased longevity of retirees is likely to result in benefits exceeding taxes collected. By 2031, the Trust Fund is expected to be exhausted. Suggestions for reforming Social Security include minor changes to the eligibility requirement or tax rates, allowing part of Social Security contributions to be invested freely, and totally privatizing Social Security.

Alan Greenspan's testimony to the Senate highlights concerns about the sustainability of Social Security in its current form in the future. The Social Security Administration's 1997 Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trustees Report provides data and projections about the state of the Social Security Trust Fund. Social Security Privatization is a web site developed by Cato Institute that argues for privatizing Social Security to prevent future insolvency. "A Brief Guide to Social Security Reform," by Daniel J. Mitchell of the Heritage Foundation, argues for the need to privatize the Social Security system in the US. Another Heritage Foundation article, "Social Security Privatization in Britain: Key Lessons for America's Reformers," by Louis D. Enoff and Robert E. Moffit, looks at Britain's effort to privatize its pension system and what lessons it holds for Americans. "Privatizing Social Security: The Troubling Trade-Offs," by Gary Burtless and Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution, argues that most of the "economic advantages of privatization can be obtained in either a public or a private retirement system." Another article that raises doubt about the benefit of privatization is "Social Security: From Ponzi Scheme to Shell Game," by Slate's Michael Kinsley. "Privatizing Social Security: The Wall Street Fix," by Dean Baker of the Economic Policy Institute, argues that "Social Security is sound now and will continue to be sound indefinitely," and sees privatization as a serious threat. [THN]
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The Scout Report for Business & Economics is published every other Thursday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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