The Scout Report for Business & Economics - April 23, 1998

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

April 23, 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

World Economic Outlook May 1998--IMF [.pdf]
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just released the May 1998 issue of World Economic Outlook. In this report, the IMF provides economic growth forecasts and other economic indicators for various regions in the world. The world output is expected to grow by just over 3 percent in 1998; this figure is down from the 4 percent predicted in the October 1997 World Economic Outlook and is due mainly to the Asian economic crisis. Other topics covered in the report include an analysis of the global impact of the Asian economic crisis, the effect of exchange rate developments on international business cycles, and identifying and predicting financial crises and fiscal reform in transition economies. [THN]
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The Proposed Tobacco Settlement: Issues from a Federal Perspective--CBO
Select Health/The Proposed Tobacco Settlement: Issues From a Federal Perspective
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has prepared a report analyzing the impact of the proposed tobacco settlement's impact on consumers and industry. In the report, CBO estimates the reduction in smoking under various scenarios if the settlement is implemented. The report also examines the impact of regulation on public health provisions, tobacco industry payments, and targets for teen smoking. The appendix summarizes research on life-cycle estimates due to the cost of smoking. [THN]
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Maintaining Financial Stability in a Global Economy--FRBKC [.pdf]
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has made available the papers presented at the "Maintaining Financial Stability in a Global Economy" symposium. The aim of the symposium is to explore "options for public authorities in adapting policies to keep financial systems safe and efficient, and to discuss response mechanisms to financial crises." The papers presented here look at the causes of financial instability, why policymakers should be concerned about financial instability, lessons from recent financial crises, and policies for maintaining financial stability. [THN]
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The Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members--OECD
The Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members (CCNM) was created by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to serve as the "focal point for the development of policy dialogue between OECD and non-member economies." The site provides information about programs carried out by the Center such as Emerging Market Economy Forum, the Transition Economy Program, and various country and regional programs. Also available at the site is Transition Brief, a quarterly newsletter that provides updates on the activities of The Centre. Visitors to the site will also find a list of publications and free documentation. [THN]
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Samsung Economic Research Institute [.pdf]
Samsung Economic Research Institute is a private research institution based in South Korea. Its aim is to carry out "research on government policies" and to advise the Korean administration on economic measures. The site provides useful economic statistics for Korea such as national income, prices, employment, money and various social indicators. The site also provides a weekly newsletter entitled Korean Economic Trends which summarizes the main economic developments of the week. [THN]
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Learning Resources
Web Professor
The Web Professor site is designed by Amelia Baldwin, Associate Professor of Accounting Information Systems, Florida International University. The site provides the syllabus, lecture notes and projects from her two Accounting Information Systems classes -- Accounting 4401 and Accounting 6437. Online materials include systems design, systems implementation, management reporting, database management, internal controls, electronic commerce, on-line security and information delivery systems. [THN]
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Investing in Bonds
Investing in Bonds was created by the Bond Market Association to educate investors about the benefits of bonds investing. The Investor's Guide to Bond Basics educates investors about the types of bonds available, criteria for evaluating a bond, a guide to buying bonds, bond investment strategies and a glossary of bond market terms. The Bond Market section provides an overview of the U.S. bond market while the Investor's Checklist section takes the investor step-by-step through the bond investment decision process. Investors will also find sections with information on municipal bonds, corporate bonds, mortgage securities and U.S. Inflation-Indexed Securities. [THN]
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Gasper's Finance Classes [PowerPoint]
Finance 340: Principles of Insurance and Risk Management
Finance 301: Managerial Finance
Finance 401: Advanced Managerial Finance
Finance 361: Financial Institutions Management
Juli-Ann Gasper, Associate Professor of Finance at Creighton University, developed these web sites for her finance classes. The sites contain syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and student projects. Finance 340 focuses on risk, particularly in the context of insurance. Finance 301 and Finance 401 examine the "principles and techniques of financial management, including investment, financing and working capital decisions." Finance 361 examines the application of financial management methods to financial institutions. [THN]
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Accounting Education Using Computers & Multimedia (AECM)
AECM is an unmoderated mailing list maintained by Barry Rice, Assistant Professor of Accounting at Loyola University. The mailing list was created to provide a forum for discussing the use of computer hardware and software for accounting education at the college level. Currently, there are 900 subscribers from more than 30 countries on the list. Instructions for subscribing to the list can be found at the web site. [THN]
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General Interest
RateNet was jointly developed by DataTrac, PR Newswire (discussed in the February 7, 1997 Scout Report) and IDC Financial Publishing. The aim of RateNet is to connect consumers with financial institutions on the Internet by providing a ranking service for the banking industry. Users may examine the current and historic interest rates of over 11,000 financial institutions from 175 markets across America. There are also 116 RateNet indices which monitor the deposit and lending rates for 776 of the largest institutions. [THN]
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CNET Investor
CNET's News.Com (discussed in the September 6, 1996 Scout Report) and Bloomberg (discussed in the October 23, 1997 Scout Report for Business and Economics) have teamed up to develop News.Com Investor. It is intended to be the "authoritative resource for investors interested in technology and non-technology stocks." A unique feature of the site is that it divides the technology stocks into sixteen categories so that investors can easily focus on stocks in a particular industry. The site features stock quotes (delayed 20 minutes), current company financial information, and the major market indices. The latest financial news, strongly emphasising technology news, is also available at the site. [THN]
[Note: Site title has changed since the original Scout Report review. Site formerly referred to in the Scout Report as " Investor."]
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ZDNet Small Business Advisor
ZDNet Small Business Advisor was developed by Ziff-Davis, a publisher of computer magazines. The site seeks to provide "current and aspiring small business owners with all the information they need to start a business and run it well." The Tax Central section features tax software for businesses and tips on how to use them. The "How do I ...?" columns features a collection of useful articles on desktop publishing, money management, and use of the web and Microsoft Office. Visitors to the site can also send questions to experts on how to use technology to improve their business. The site features a collection of software downloads for small businesses, a message board and a shopping guide for computers. [THN]
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Yahoo! Insurance Center
Yahoo! Insurance Center provides many useful insurance resources. The site is divided into auto, life & health, and home & renters sections. The auto insurance section provides insurance quotes, an insurance coverage analyzer, and a glossary. Similarly, users can also obtain quotes on term life insurance, analyze their health plans and browse through a life insurance glossary. In the home & renters section, consumers will find estimates of quotes for homeowners and renters insurance, a guide to filing claims, and a glossary of property insurance terms. In addition, the site also contains informative articles arranged by insurance type, and links to various insurance related sites. [THN]
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Two FRB Gateways
Feds on the Web
Fed in Print: An Index to Federal Reserve Economic Research
The Feds on the Web site was developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to provide easy access to information from the Federal Reserve System. At the site, visitors may link to each of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks and Board of Governors via a short list of unique types of information available at each site. A map of the Federal Reserve districts, mailing addresses and phone numbers are also available at the site. The Fed in Print site was developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to serve as a database of all Federal Reserve System economic research. Users can search the database by keyword, title, author, Federal Reserve Bank and year. [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:

Working Papers
International Monetary Fund Working Papers
The International Monetary Funds has released 10 new working papers (WP/98/31 to WP/98/40). These papers examine the issues of regional trade arrangements, inflation targeting, stabilization in Armenia, foreign exchange risk, household savings rate, public pensions and the security factor in development. [THN]

Public Policy for the Private Sector [.pdf]
The World Bank has released two new Public Policy for the Private Sector articles, written by Andrej Juris. The articles examine the natural gas industry in the United Kingdom, and the competition in the natural gas industry. [THN]

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Center Technical Papers [.pdf]
The OECD Development Center has released Technical Paper No. 134 entitled "Exchange-Rate Management and Manufactured Exports in Sub-Sahara Africa," by Khalid Sekkat and Aristomene Varoudakis. [THN]

BRIE Working Papers
The Berkeley Roundtable on International Economy (BRIE) has released two new working papers (WP 111 and WP 118) examining Japan's political economy and foreign participation in US-funded R&D projects. [THN]

Stockholm School of Economics Working Papers Series in Economics and Finance [.pdf]
Ulf-G. Gerdtham and Michael Lothgren's working paper No. 232 titled "On stationary and cointegration of international health expenditure and GDP" has just been released. At present an abstract is available for this paper. Full text is forthcoming. [THN]
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Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bulletin [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Current Issues in Economics and Finance [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Fed Letter [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letters
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Economic Review
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Trends [.pdf]
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has released the April 1998 issue of Federal Reserve Bulletin which examines the recent developments in home equity lending. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the March 1998 issue of the Current Issues in Economics and Finance which considers job recovery in the New York-New Jersey area. The April 1998 issue of Fed Letter features an article by William Testa examining the changing fiscal policy in the Seventh District. The May issue contains an article entitled "Interstate Trade Among Midwest Economies." The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has released Economic Letters No. 98-11 -- 98-13, which examine the long-run determinants of East Asian real exchange rates, health insurance in the US labor market, and bank charters vs. thrift charters. The second quarter 1998 issue of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Review features articles on oil conservation, overinvestment in housing and the impact of fundamental tax reform. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released the April 1998 issue of Economic Trends, which contains short articles on various aspects of the US and FRB Cleveland regional economy. [THN]

FDIC Consumer News--Winter 1997/98
The Federal Depositary Insurance Corporation has released the Winter 1997/98 issue of Consumer News with articles on how to teach kids the financial facts of life; deposit insurance for retirement savings; alerts on various fradulent schemes; and other consumer related issues. [THN]

International Economic Review [.pdf]
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has released the January/February issue of the International Economic Review. The issue contains articles on the impact of the Asian financial crisis, Russia's application to the World Trade Organization and world direct investment in 1996. [THN]
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Books and Journals
The abstracts and table of contents for the following journals are now available: Journal of International Economics (Vol. 44 No.1), Ecological Economics (Vol 24 No.2-3), International Journal of Industrial Organization (Vol. 16 No.2), Research Policy (Vol. 26 No. 6) and Mathematical Social Sciences (Vol. 35 No.1-2). [THN]

Institute for International Economics
The Institute for International Economics has released three new books. The titles include "Restarting Fast Track" edited by Jeffrey Schott, "Agricultural Trade Policy: Completing the Reform" by Timothy Josling and "Improving Trade Policy Reviews in the World Trade Organization" by Donald B. Keesing. Price and ordering information, as well as selected full text, are available at the site. [THN]
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The Twelfth Congress of the International Economic History Association
The Twelfth Congress of the International Economic History Association will be held in Seville, Spain from August 24 to 28, 1998. The inaugural lecture at the Congress will be presented by Douglass North and is titled "The Frontiers of Knowledge in Economic History." [THN]

The 1998 International Symposium on Audit Research
The 1998 International Symposium on Audit Research (ISAR) is hosted by the University of New South Wales and will be held in Sydney, Australia from 25 to 26 June 1998. The conference will examine research on economic and behavioral aspects of auditing, using a broad range of methodologies. [THN]

IWPR's Fifth Women's Policy Research Conference
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) together with the Women's Studies Program at George Washington University will be organizing the Fifth Women's Policy Research Conference. The conference will be held at George Washington University from June 12-13, 1998. The theme of the conference is "Women's Progress: Perspectives on the Past, Blueprint for the Future." [THN]
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European Job Openings for Economists (E-JOE)
The E-JOE site is co-hosted by the Department of Economics at the Technical University of Berlin and the European Economic Association. It provides announcement of job openings for economists in Europe; the listings are searchable. In addition, an email alert service provides weekly updates on new job openings. [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)
Producer Price Indexes--March 1998
Consumer Price Index--March 1998
Real Earnings--March 1998
US Import and Export Price Index--March 1998
Regional and State Employment and Unemployment--March 1998
The latest data from the BLS indicate that the Producer Price Index for Finished Goods declined by 0.3 percent, while the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was unchanged in March 1998. Real average weekly earnings decreased by 0.2 percent in March 1998, due mainly to a 0.6 percent decrease in average weekly hours. The U.S Import Price fell by 1.0 percent in March for the fifth consecutive month, while the U.S Export Price Index declined by 0.2 percent over the same period. On the employment front, regional and state unemployment rates were generally stable in March. [THN]
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Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Selected files from Survey of Current Business--April 1998
US International Transactions in Private Services: A Guide to the Surveys Conducted by BEA [.pdf]
Transportation Satellite Accounts
US International Trade in Goods and Services--February 1998
The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released selected files from the April 1998 issue of the Survey of Current Business, including Business Situation tables and selected National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) tables. US International Transactions is a guide to the methodology of the eleven surveys that are used to compile international transactions in private services data. The newly developed Transportation Satellite Accounts show that transportation accounts for 5.0% of the GDP rather than 3.1%, as previously estimated (using traditional input-output measure). In February 1998, the United States ran a goods and services deficit of $12.1 billion, compared with a deficit of $11.6 billion in January (due to lower exports). [THN]
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization--March 1998
Industrial production increased by 0.2 percent in March but industrial capacity utilization decreased by 0.1 percent. [THN]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Uranium Industry Annual Publication 1997 [.pdf]
The EIA has released the 1997 report on the uranium industry. The report provides "current statistical data on the U.S. uranium industry's activities relating to uranium raw materials and uranium marketing." [THN]
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Census Bureau
Service Annual Survey--1996 [.pdf]
The Census Bureau has released the 1996 Service Annual Survey which provides estimates of receipts, revenue, and other financial information for services industries. Tables are available for travel and lodging services, personal services, business and professional services, automotive repair and parking services, motion pictures and recreation services, health services and social services. [THN]
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FAOSTAT Agriculture Data Updates
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization's FAOSTAT agricultural production databases have recently been updated through 1997. Trade databases have recently been updated through 1996. [JS]
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In the News
Bank Mergers
Citibank Merger Announcement
NationsBank Merger Announcement
Banc One Merger Announcement
Banking Institution Mergers: Questions and Answers
The Effects of Megamergers on Efficiency and Prices: Evidence from a Bank Profit Function [.pdf]
How Does Bank Consolidation Affect Small Business Lending?
Small Business Lending by Banks Involved in Mergers [.pdf,.ps]
Bank Consolidation and Small Business Lending: It's Not Just Bank Size That Matters [.pdf]
Bigger Mergers = Bigger Banks = Bigger Fees
Bigger is Better
This week's In the News exaimnes the recent flurry of merger activities in the banking sector. The ten resources above provide the details of the recent three big banking mergers and the likely effects on efficiency, lending and consumers. On April 6, 1998, Citibank, the second largest bank in America, announced that it will be merging with Travelers Group, a large financial services firm, in a deal worth $80 billion -- the largest merger deal ever. Only a week later, BankAmerica announced it would merge with NationsBank to create the first coast-to-coast bank in America, in a deal worth $60 billion. The third deal took place on the same day, when First Chicago NBD and Banc One announced they will be merging in a deal valued at $30 billion.

Citibank's merger announcement, NationsBank's merger announcement and Banc One's merger announcement all provide the details about the mergers, including information about how the deals are structured, management of the merged entities, and summary financial statistics of the institutions. The American Bankers Association's Bank Institutions Mergers: Questions and Answers site attempts to answer the most commonly asked questions about the recent mergers, and especially why banks are merging. "The Effects of Megamergers on Efficiency and Prices: Evidence from a Bank Profit Function," published by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, shows that bank mergers increased the profit-efficiency rank of the banks. A common concern of the recent bank mergers is that larger banks will lend less to small businesses. "How Does Bank Consolidation Affect Small Business Lending?," published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, examines the effect of bank consolidation on small business lending. Research from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston -- "Small Business Lending by Banks Involved in Mergers" and "Bank Consolidation and Small Business Lending: It's Not Just Bank Size That Matters" -- find that bank mergers do not necessarily lead to less small business lending and may in fact increase small business lending. "Bigger Mergers = Bigger Banks = Bigger Fees," by Guy Halverson of the Christian Science Monitor, raises the concern that bigger banks will charge higher fees to consumers. Bigger is Better is a Money magazine site that highlights the recent mergers; it analyzes the three big bank mergers, examines why bank mergers may hurt consumers, and why size is important in the banking industry today. [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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