The Scout Report for Business & Economics - February 26, 1998

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

February 26, 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

Social Security Privatization and the Annuities Market -- CBO
Select: Pensions and Social Security/Social Security Privatization and the Annuities Market
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released Social Security Privatization and the Annuities Market, a paper discussing the "importance of private annuities markets for the payout phase of personal retirement accounts, focusing on the interaction between regulatory design and market performance." The paper introduces the issues and then proceeds to survey the current state of the private annuities market. The report then evaluates the determinants of annuity prices, the presence of adverse selection in the annuity market, and how private annuities markets will function in a social security system with personal retirement accounts. [THN]
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Economy and Environment--EPA [.pdf]
The Economy and Environment division is a part of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its aim is to "carry out research and analysis of the interactions and relationships between the economy and environmental pollution control as well as other aspects of environmental economics." The site features the Environmental Economics Report Manager, a searchable database of reports relating to environmental economics. Some of the reports can be downloaded in Word, Acrobat or WordPerfect format. The site provides the EPA Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIAs) Database, which allows users to search and locate RIAs. Funding and job information are also available. [THN]
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Workforce Development and Technological Knowledge in Central America
Workforce Development and Technological Knowledge in Central America is a report prepared by Luis Salicrup for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Central America needs "to improve the productivity in its economy and workers, expand technological knowledge and liberalize its trade policies" in order to participate fully in the free trade treaties. The aim of the study is to "identify the best practices and lessons from ten different workforce and technological centers" and see how they can be applied to Central America to enhance the region's competitiveness. [THN]
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors Statistics: Releases and Historical Data
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has compiled its collection of statistical releases on this site. Visitors can find daily releases of commercial paper rates and selected interest rates; and weekly releases on reserves, money stocks and debt measures; assets and liabilities of commercial banks, foreign exchange rates and interest rates. Also available are monthly data on industrial production and capacity utilization, consumer credit and finance companies. Quarterly data are available for terms of bank lending to business, country exposure lending and flow of funds. Historical data are available as well for selected data series. [THN]
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Internet Corruption Perception Index
The Internet Corruption Perception Index is provided by Transparency International and Goettingen University, Germany. The goal of the site to "rank countries by the extent of corruption in public administration." The ranking can then be used to help assess country risks. The Internet Corruption Perception Index is published annually and is based on "surveys undertaken by Gallup International, the World Competitiveness Yearbook, assessments by Political & Economic Risk Consultancy in Hong Kong, DRI/McGraw Hill Global Risk Service, Political Risk Services in Syracuse, USA, and data gathered from internet sources directly." The index for 1997 covers 52 countries, including both developed and developing countries. Recently added to the site is the report on the bribery propensity of leading exporting nations; this section investigates the "propensity to pay bribes for the acquisition of contracts in international trade." At the site, visitors can provide their own input on a country's bribery propensity. [THN]
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Learning Resources
Wharton Ethics Program Case Studies
The Wharton Ethics Program at the University of Pennsylvania has put together a collection of case studies in business ethics. Case studies include both real-world and fictional companies. Real-world companies that are used in the case studies include Campbell Soup, Chemical Bank and the House of Nomura. Issues covered include whistle-blowing, discrimination, foreign culture, stakeholder management, and bribery, among others. [THN]
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ABREMA: Activity Based Risk Evaluation Model of Auditing
Howard Holmes of Macquaries University, Australia developed the Activity Based Risk Evaluation Model of Auditing (ABREMA) to use in the study of financial statement auditing. ABREMA integrates the "descriptive concepts of audit objectives, financial statement misstatements and audit stages, with the theoretical concepts of cognitive decision making and audit risk." The model developed is generally consistent with International Auditing Standards issued by the International Federation of Accountants. Visitors to the site can find the conceptual framework of the model and its applications in the areas of cash, inventory, payables and receivables. There is also a glossary of audit terms. [THN]
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Journal of Economic Education [.pdf]
The Journal of Economic Education is published by Heldref Publications in cooperation with the National Council on Economic Education and the Advisory Committee on Economic Education of the American Economic Association. The journal publishes articles on "innovations in and evaluations of teaching techniques, materials and programs in economics." Visitors to the site can browse through the table of contents or search through the abstracts for all the issues starting from 1984. Visitors can also view the full text of each article in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format beginning with the Winter 1998 issue. [THN]
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Great Ideas for Teaching Accounting
South-Western College Publishing has created the Great Ideas for Teaching Accounting site to allow accounting professors the opportunity to share their teaching techniques. The teaching tips contributed by various accounting professors are categorized into a table of contents similar to that of an introductory accounting textbook. There is a separate section for teaching tips on management accounting. The site also provide tips on classroom management, communication skills and teamwork development. Visitors can use a form at the site to submit their own teaching ideas. [THN]
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Economists with Web Pages
John S. Irons of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has assembled a list of economists who have web pages. This site should be of interest to researchers who are trying to locate other researchers in their field. At their sites the economists provide information on their research; some even offer downloadable working papers. The site also contains an election calculator, which allows users to input their economic forecasts and then predict what share of votes the two major parties will win. In addition, visitors can read an argument against the Balanced Budget Amendment. [THN]
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General Interest
Canadian Federal Budget 1998 [.pdf, Shockwave, Quicktime]
The Canadian Federal Government has just released its 1998 budget. At the site visitors can find the full text of the Finance Minister's speech and an overview of the 1998 budget. Also found on the site are information on Canada's economic and fiscal situation, deatils of the Canada Opportunities Strategy and the tax relief plan. Multimedia features on the site include videos of speeches by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister and a multimedia presentation of various aspects of the budget. [THN]
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Investment FAQ
Christopher Lott developed the Investment FAQ site to help individual investors obtain "clear and concise information about investments and personal finance." The site consists of a collection of Frequently Asked Questions and answers about investments and personal finance. Collection categories include advice, analysis, bonds, derivatives, exchanges, financial planning, information sources, insurance, mutual funds, real estate, regulation, retirement plans, software, stocks, strategies, tax code, technical analysis and trading. There are tours designed for the beginner, intermediate users, and experts. [THN]
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Deficits, the National Debt, and Economic Growth
Deficits, the National Debt, and Economic Growth, developed by Steve Conover, Sr., advocates that the American government focus more attention on generating economic growth rather than on reducing the national debt. The Rhetoric section of the site contains rebuttals to the common arguments used by advocates of a lower national debt. Other sections include Debt and Growth, and a library that contains a reading list on the issues as well as a collection of quotes. [THN]
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Inventor's Resource
Inventor Andy Gibbs developed the Inventor's Resource site to provide information to new inventors, intellectual property managers and intellectual property creators. The site features a newsletter, a yellow page of investors, copyright and trademark links, downloadable forms for inventors, and a listing of inventions for sale. The site also features annotated links to technological transfer resources, funding, patent laws, and international intellectual property organizations. [THN]
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Financial Scandals
Roy Davies, a librarian at University of Exeter, United Kingdom, has put together an impressive collection of links relating to financial scandals. The links are divided into Classic Financial Scandals, Political Corruption, Organized Crime (Mafia and Yakuza), Money Laundering, and Regulatory Organizations. Recent scandals such as BCCI, Barings, Sumitomo and Bre-X are covered. [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:

National Credit Union Administration v. First National Bank & Trust Co.--US Supreme Court (96-843)
Non-Javascript Version
Full text of this recently released Supreme Court decision is available at the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University. The decision is significant in that it restricts the membership base of credit unions. The syllabus, opionion, and dissenting opinion are available in HTML (with references linked to pertinent cases) and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) versions at the site. [JS]
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Working Papers
Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance [.pdf, .ps]
The Stockholm School of Economics has released three new working papers (No. 221-222, 224) concerning the cointegration model, internal markets and health care efficiency and the issue of whether Finland and Sweden should enter a monetary union. [THN]

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OECD Technical Papers [.pdf]
OECD Economics Working Papers [.pdf]
The OECD has released Technical Paper No. 131 titled "Long-Run Growth Trends and Convergence Across Indian States" by Rayaprolu Nagaraj, Aristomene Varoudakis, and Marie-Ange Veganzones. Economics Working Paper No. 188 titled "Asset Prices and Monetary Policy" by Mike Kennedy, Angel Palerm, Charles Pigott, and Flavia Terribile has been released as well. [THN]

Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Paper
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released working papers No. 9802 and No. 9804 examining the issues of the median voter and solving dynamic equilibrium models. [THN]

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Working Papers [.pdf]
The IMF has released one new working paper (WP/98/9) titled "Uncertainty, Flexible Exchange Rates, and Agglomeration" by Luca Antonio Ricci. [THN]
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Federal Reserve System
Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices--January 1998 [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Trends--February 1998 [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letters
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Southeastern Manufacturing Survey--January 1998
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Review--First Quarter 1998
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has released the January 1998 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices. The survey questioned bank executives on lending to businesses, households, and East Asian firms. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released the February 1998 issue of Economic Trends. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has released Economic Letters No. 98-05 by John Krainer titled "The 1997 Nobel Prize in Economics." The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta released the results of the January 1998 Southeastern Manufacturing Survey showing that current activity indicators remain generally soft compared with January 1997. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has released the first quarter 1998 issue of Economic Review. The issue looks at economic development in the Tenth District and prospects for US agriculture. [THN]

Bank Trends--FDIC [.pdf]
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has released Bank Trends No.98-01 -- No. 98-03 analyzing the time series behavior of personal bankruptcy at the federal and state level, and the influence of legal factors on personal bankruptcy filings. [THN]

CGAP Newsletter--January 1998
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP) has released its January 1998 newsletter. This issue looks at the "initiatives, resources and challenges to micro-finance in Asia." [THN]
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Books and Journals
Economic Integration of the Korean Peninsula
The Institute for International Economics has released Special Report 10 titled "Economic Integration of the Korean Peninsula," edited by Marcus Noland. This issue analyzes "the three broad strategic possibilities of war, collapse, and gradual adjustment" and "the current economic conditions and policies in the North, the food crisis, the nuclear energy/nuclear weapons issue, and the possibility of large-scale refugee flows." Note that the Introduction is available online. Table of contents is also available, as well as ordering information. [THN]

Corporate Conduct Quarterly
Corporate Conduct Quarterly is published by the Forum for Policy Research and Public Service at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden Campus. The journal aims to offer practical advice on "corporate ethics and compliance." Visitors to the site will find an index of past articles; selected articles are available in full text. [THN]

The abstracts and table of contents for Labour Economics (Vol. 4, No. 4), Journal of Econometrics (Vol. 83, No. 1-2), Journal of Health Economics (Vol. 17 No. 1), Regional Science and Urban Economics (Vol. 28 No.1), Journal of Development Economics (Vol. 54 No. 1), and the European Journal of Political Economy (Vol. 13 No.4) are now available. [THN]
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FESMA 1998 - Business Improvement through Software Measurement
FESMA is a non-profit organization created to support the activities of the various Software Metrics Association chapters in Europe. Their 1998 conference will be held from May 6-8, 1998 in Antwerp, Belgium. The conference will "focus on the application of software metrics in project control, estimating and risk management." [THN]

3rd Annual Workplace Learning Conference
The 3rd Annual Workplace Learning Conference will be held from April 19-21, 1998 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conference theme is "Workplace Learning: Strategies for Success." Participants at the conference are expected to share "successful strategies for building and enhancing partnership programs." [THN]

Advancing the Integration of New Technologies into the Undergraduate Teaching of Economics
The Journal of Economic Education and the University of Pittsburgh are co-sponsoring a conference on "Advancing the Integration of New Technologies into the Undergraduate Teaching of Economics" to be held at the University of Pittsburgh on May 28-30, 1998. [THN]
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European Job Openings for Economists (E-JOE)
The E-JOE site is hosted by the Department of Economics at the Technical University Berlin and the European Economic Association. It provides announcements of job openings for economists in Europe. The listings are searchable. An email alert service that provides weekly updates on new job openings is also available. [THN]

Job Openings in Economics from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Job Openings in Business and Management from the Chronicle of Higher Education
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New Data
(For links to additional sources of new data see the Business & Economics Current Awareness Metapage:

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Union Members in 1997
Productivity and Costs (Preliminary)--Fourth Quarter 1997
US Import and Export Price Indexes--January 1998
Consumer Price Index--January 1998
Real Earnings--December 1997
The BLS has released the latest statistics on union membership. The figures show that the share of unionized workers continued to decline, accounting for just 14.1% of employment in 1997 compared with 14.5% in 1996. The sectors with the highest unionization rates are transportation and public utilities (26.0 percent), and construction (18.6 percent). The BLS also released preliminary productivity data for the fourth quarter and for the full year 1997. The BLS reports that the US Import Price Index fell by 1.3 percent, while the Export Price Index declined by 0.6 percent in January 1998. The latest release shows that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.2 percent in January and 1.6 percent in the 12-month period to January before seasonal adjustment. The January 1998 figures for current Real Earnings have also been released. [THN]
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Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
US International Trade in Goods and Services--December 1997
The BEA announced that in December 1997, the United States ran a goods and services deficit of $10.8 billion, an increase from the $8.7 billion deficit in November. This was due to the goods deficit increasing by $1.9 billion and the services surplus shrinking by $0.2 billion. [THN]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Changing Structure of the US Coal Industry [.pdf]
Energy End-Use Intensities in Commercial Buildings
East Asia: The Energy Situation
The EIA has released Changing Structure of the US Coal Industry which provides a "comprehensive overview of the changes in the US coal industry between 1976 and 1991." It also released a report titled Energy End-Use Intensities in Commercial Buildings estimating how much "electricity and natural gas were used in commercial buildings for various uses in 1995." East Asia: The Energy Situation surveys the effects of the East Asian economic crisis on the energy situation. [THN]
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United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Latin America and the Carribean: Selected Economic and Social Data -- 1997 [.wk4]
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has released the 1997 edition of Latin America and the Carribean: Selected Economic and Social Data. The site contains extensive charts and tables of socioeconomic data on the countries in the region. Note that the tables are in Lotus worksheet format (.wk4). Data covers sectors such as social, health, education, environment, democracy and economy, trade, investment and assistance. [THN]
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Monetary Report to Congress Pursuant to the Full Employment and Growth Act of 1978
Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization--January 1998
The latest version of the semi-annual Monetary Report to Congress..., also known as the Humphrey-Hawkins Report, has been released by the Federal Reserve Board. It claims that the US economy "turned in another excellent performance in 1997," with strong growth and low unemployment and inflation. It attributes this performance to US monetary and fiscal policy. The report is divided into two parts: Monetary Policy and the Economic Outlook, and Economic and Financial Developments in 1997 and Early 1998, and is accompanied by numerous charts. It is available in HTML, text and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, and is accompanied by FRB Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony of Feburary 24, 1998. The January 1998 figures for industrial production show that industrial production was basically unchanged in January. Industrial capacity utilization was lower, down to 83.0 percent. [THN]
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In the News
Currency Boards
Currency Boards
Currency Boards: An Idea Whose Time has Come?
A Tale of Two Pesos: A Comparison of Currency Policies In Mexico and Argentina
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Currency Boards are not the Answer
Currency Boards: The Ultimate Fix? [.pdf]
Select: Currency Boards: The Ultimate Fix? (WP/98/8)
Bank Soundness and Currency Board Arrangements: Issues and Experience [.pdf]
Select: Bank Soundness and Currency Board Arrangements (PPAA/97/11)
Making a Currency Board Operational [.pdf]
Select: Making a Currency Board Operational (PPAA/97/10)
This week's In The News looks at the proposed adoption of a currency board by Indonesia. The eight resources listed explain what a currency board is and enumerate the benefits and costs of adopting a currency board. President Suharto of Indonesia proposed creating a currency board in Indonesia to help solve the current financial crisis that is plaguing the country. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the agency providing $40 billion to Indonesia to help it overcome the financial crisis, is against the idea and threatens to cut off financial aid if the currency board is adopted. At the moment, Indonesia appears to have backed down from the idea, avoiding a confrontation with the IMF. A currency board is a monetary authority that issues notes and coins convertible into a foreign currency (reserve currency) at a fixed rate and on demand. Both Hong Kong and Argentina have successfully adopted a currency board system.

The Currency Board's site, developed by Kurt Schuler, contains extensive resources on currency boards including a bibliography, a history of currency boards, and a proposal to stabilize the Indonesian currency through a currency board. Richard W. Judy has written "Currency Boards: An Idea Whose Time has Come?," an article evaluating the benefits of currency boards that looks at the experience of Estonia and Argentina. "A Tale of Two Pesos: A Comparison of Currency Policies in Mexico and Argentina," by Steve Hanke, argues for the creation of a currency board in Mexico drawing from the experience of Argentina. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority site contains information about the currency board system in use in Hong Kong. "Currency Boards are not the Answer," by John Williamson, summarizes the main disadvantages of the currency board system. The IMF is usually skeptical about the benefits of a currency board; however, in IMF Working Paper WP/98/8, "Currency Boards: The Ultimate Fix?", by Atish Ghosh, Anne-Marie Gulde and Holger Wolf, found that countries that adopted currency boards have better inflation performance and higher output growth. Veerathai Santiprabhob's article titled "Bank Soundness and Currency Board Arrangements: Issue and Experience," argues that bank soundness is crucial for the adoption of a currency board. "Making a Currency Board Operational," by Charles Enoch and Anne-Marie Gulde, focuses on the technical changes that are required to implement a currency board. [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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