The Scout Report for Business & Economics - May 21, 1998

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

May 21, 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

The Virtual Institute of Information
The Virtual Institute of Information was developed by the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI), an independent Columbia University research center. The aim of the Virtual Institute of Information is to serve as a source of information for researchers interested in the "economic, business, policy and social aspects of telecommunications, cybercommunications and mass media." Resources available at the site include a searchable database of papers, commentary on the Federal Communication Commission's role in implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and the latest communications news. [THN]
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Deposit Insurance Reform
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has created this web site to address the problem with the current system of deposit insurance, and to propose a solution. The shortfalls of the deposit insurance system, especially the too-big-to-fail problem, are explained in a series of articles published by the FRBMPLS. To overcome the problem with the deposit insurance system, the FRBMPLS urges the Congress to amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 to prevent full protection of uninsured depositors and creditors, to incorporate a risk premium on uninsured funds, and to require banks to provide additional information. Details of the proposal may be found at the site. There are also useful links to discussions of other proposals to reform the deposit insurance system. [THN]
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Country Commercial Guides
The United States State Department has recently made available the Fiscal Year 1998 Country Commercial Guides (CCG's). These Guides are prepared annually by United States embassies together with other government agencies. Visitors will find information on the economic trends and outlook, political environment, market for U.S products, trade regulations, investment climate, trade financing and travel in the CCG. An appendix containing the country's main economic indicators is also included in the report. [THN]
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Forum on Economic Freedom
The Forum on Economic Freedom web site was developed by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) to build and strengthen democracy around the world through promoting private enterprise. The highlight of the site is Economic Reform Today, a journal published by CIPE to help educate policymakers on successful economic strategies. Recent issues have focused on challenges for policymakers in new democracies, globalization, reshaping government and market solutions to social issues. Other resources available include materials from CIPE "Central and Eastern Europe: Economic Policy Roundtables" and "Women in Business" programs. [THN]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA) [Java]
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the statistical arm of the United States Department of Energy. The administration web site provides publications and data relating to "energy resources and reserves, energy production, energy demand, and energy technologies." A nice feature of the site is the Interactive Data Query System which allows users to extract their choice of data series in a variety of formats. Note that Java is needed to access the data query system. The site also allows users to sign up to any of 31 mailing lists that notify users of the latest developments in the energy industry. [THN]
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Learning Resources
Bill Mitchell's Econometrics Course Pages [Powerpoint, .pdf, Word]
Econ 245 Basic Econometrics and Quantitative Methods
Econ 340 Econometric Modelling and Forecasting
Econ 346 Applied Econometrics
Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics at Newcastle University, Australia has created these web pages for his econometrics courses. Each course page contains slides from the lectures, tutorials, data for the tutorials, and the class project. The Econ 245 course page discusses the topics of ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and OLS properties. The Econ 340 course covers the multivariate linear model, structural stability, testing for restrictions, and the functional form. The Econ 346 course covers unit roots, cointegration, error correction modeling, vector autoregressive models, logit and probit models, and non-linear least squares. [THN]
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Economics 364: Survey of International Economics
The Economics 364: Survey of International Economics web site was developed by Blake LeBaron, Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The class aims to explain finance and macroeconomic policies in the world economy and trade patterns among countries. Topics covered include the foreign exchange market, balance of payments accounting, arbitrage in the foreign exchange market, monetary policy, trade models and trade policies. At the site users can find lecture notes, assignments and past exams. [THN]
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Static and Dynamic Optimization Models in Agriculture [.pdf, .ps, MatLab, Mathematica]
Charles Moss, Associate Professor of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida developed this web site for his course on optimization models. The course aims to introduce students to classical optimization models, particularly mathematical programming and using optimal control theory to solve dynamic optimization models. The site provides lecture notes, slides from the lectures, assignments and solutions, and computer programs. [THN]
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Economic Education Website
The Economic Education Website (EcEdWeb) was created by the Center for Economic Education at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. The aim of the site is to provide support for economic education from K-12 through college. At the site visitors will find links to teaching resources, economic information and economic data. In addition, there is a section on how to use the Internet for economics education. Note that the website also houses the web pages of the National Association of Economic Educators and the Missouri Valley Economics Association. [THN]
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General Interest
InvestorGuide, provided by WebFinance, Inc., is a web site that provides annotated links to free information on personal finance and investing. The links are carefully selected and are organized into Personal Finance, Investing and Education. The Personal Finance section covers issues such as credit, retirement savings, insurance, taxes and banking, while the Investing section helps inform users of the variety of financial instruments such as bonds, futures, options, mutual funds and stocks. The Education section is directed at novices needing an introduction to investing. In addition, the site also offers original content such as research tools, stock analyses, articles and InvestorGuide Weekly, a weekly email newsletter highlighting the latest web sites. [THN]
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Mortgage-X was developed to help consumers obtain the best mortgage deal. The site features the Home Buyer's Guide which helps familiarize home buyers with the home buying process, a variety of mortgage calculators to determine the monthly mortgage payments, a mortgage pre-qualifier calculator, and a Mortgage Library with information on the different types of loans and mortgages. Visitors will also find a mortgage directory (listing mortgage lenders from across the country), a real estate directory (listing homes for sale), graphs of interest rate trends, and mortgage rate quotes. [THN]
[Note: Site title has changed since the original Scout Report review. Site formerly referred to in the Scout Report as "Superb Mortgage Net."]
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MoneyMinded, provided by Hearst Communications, is a finance site aimed at women. The site is divided into sections on spending, working life, income/outgo, financial security, family goals and love & money. Each section contains articles and helpful guides on how to manage your money. For users who are ready to invest their money, the site's Investing section provides information on mutual funds, investment clubs, online trading and price quotes. Users will also find financial planning calculators, a glossary of financial terms, and discussion forums at the site. [THN]
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National Fraud Information Center
Created by the National Consumers League to counter telemarketing and Internet fraud, the National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) web site offers tips for consumers to avoid common telemarketing and Internet fraud. The site also provides a list of the most popular telemarketing scams. There is also a special section with tips to help the elderly avoid fraud. At the site, visitors may submit questions and report suspected cases of fraud. [THN]
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Fortune Small Business (FSB)
The Your Company web site provides material from Your Company magazine, which targets small business owners. The site contains regular legislative updates of interest to small business owners, articles on the latest technology, and management strategies and profiles of successful entrepreneurs. Visitors may also search or browse through past issues of the magazine, from February 1996. [THN]
[Note: Site title has changed since the original Scout Report review. Site formerly referred to in the Scout Report as "Your Company."]
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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
Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Working Papers [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Working Papers [.pdf, .ps]
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Research Working Papers
Federal Reserve Board of Governors Finance and Economics Discussion Series
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has released two new working papers (98-3 and 98-4) by Madeline Zavodny entitled "Determinants of Recent Immigrants' Locational Choices," and "The Effects of Official English Laws on Limited-English-Proficient Workers." The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released two new working papers (No. 586 and 587) examining the Suffolk banking system and the role of damage-contingent contracts in allocating the risk of natural catastrophes. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has released its first working paper of 1998 entitled "A Model of Financial Fragility," by Roger D. Lagunoff and Stacey L. Schreft. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has released three new Finance and Economics Discussion Series papers (No. 1998-19 to 1998-21) which look at endogenous business cycles, stock market wealth, consumer spending, and wage rigidity. [THN]

International Monetary Fund
Papers on Policy Analysis and Assessment
Working Papers
The IMF has released six new Papers on Policy Analysis and Assessment (PPAA/98/1 to PPAA/98/6) covering the topics of aid effectiveness, central bank operations in foreign exchange markets, agricultural taxation in Pakistan, payment system and monetary policy, external borrowings in the transition economies, and the future of Africa. The IMF also released thirteen new working papers (WP/98/54 to WP/98/66) examining the issues of Islamic finance, fiscal discipline, public sector efficiency, Chile's real exchange rate, deindustrialization, corruption, and the fiscal effects of monetary policy. [THN]

World Bank
Public Policy for the Private Sector
The World Bank has released three new papers in the "Public Policy for the Private Sector" series covering the Russian electricity sector, natural gas market in the United States, and the use of depository receipts in international equity markets. [THN]

Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance [.pdf]
Working Paper No. 236, "The Anatomy and Dynamics of Small Scale Private Manufacturing in Vietnam," by Maud Hemlin, Bhargave Ramamurthy and Per Ronnas is now available. [THN]
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Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letters
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Trends [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review [.pdf, .ps]
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Staff Reports [.pdf, .ps]
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Financial Industry Issues
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Economic Review [.pdf]
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has released two new Economic Letters (No. 98-15 and 98-16) covering the future of financial services and public support for research and development. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released the May 1998 issue of Economic Trends which provides a monthly overview of national, international and regional economic issues. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released the Spring 1998 issue of Quarterly Review, featuring articles on zero nominal interest rates and inflation under fiat and commodity standards. The latest issue of Staff Report (No. 246) examines the demand for money and the non-neutrality of money. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has released the First Quarter 1998 issue of Financial Industry Issues which examines the entry of new banks. The latest issue of Economic Review (Vol. 83, No. 1) released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has articles on credibility of central banks, dynamic multivariate model for policy formulation, risk management and fraud. [THN]

International Monetary Fund
Economic Issues
The International Monetary Fund has released Economic Issues No. 13 entitled "Fixed or Flexible? Getting the Exchange Rate Right in the 1990s," by Francesco Caramazza and Jahangir Aziz. [THN]

US Census Bureau [.pdf]
Census Briefs
The Census Bureau has released two new Census Briefs (98-1 and 98-2) examining the issues of children without health insurance and the number of workers working at home. [THN]

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) [.pdf]
Report on Underwriting Practices
The FDIC has released the latest Report on Underwriting Practices covering the period October 1997 to March 1998. The report aims to identify changes in underwriting standards, the riskiness of new lending practices, and new issues in underwriting new loans. [THN]
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Books and Journals
Econbase--Elsevier [.pdf]
The abstracts and table of contents for the following journals are now available: Regional Science and Urban Economics (Vol 28 Nos 2-3), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (Vol 34 Nos 2-3), International Journal of Industrial Organization (Vol 16 No 3), European Journal of Political Economy (Vol 14 No 1), Journal of Development Economics (Vol 55 No 1), Journal of Financial Economics (Vol 48 No 1), Mathematical Social Sciences (Vol 35 No 3), and Journal of Banking and Finance (Vol 21 Nos 11-12 and Vol 22 No 1). In addition for a limited period, Elsevier is making available the full text of Journal of Econometrics,Journal of Financial Economics,Journal of Public Economics,Journal of Monetary Economics and Journal of Accounting and Economics since 1997. [THN]

Open Markets Matter: The Benefits of Trade and Investment Liberalization
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released this study to document "the contribution of trade and investment liberalization to wealth-creation and well-being." The study also recognizes the need to adopt policies to assist people who are adversely affected by liberalization in the economy. [THN]
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The EMU and the Outside World
The International Conference on the EMU (European Monetary Union) and the Outside World will be held in Zurich, Switzerland on December 11, 1998. The conference is organized by the Institute for Business Cycle Research (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). The conference will emphasize the implications of the introduction of the Euro as a common currency. [THN]

Second Asian-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference
The Second Asian-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (APIRA 98) will be held in Osaka, Japan from August 4-8, 1998. The aim of the conference is to advance accounting knowledge and provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussions. [THN]

Seventh European Workshop on Econometrics and Health Economics
The Seventh European Workshop on Econometrics and Health Economics will be held from September 9-11, 1998 in Helsinki, Finland. The conference will provide a "forum for the development and dissemination of applications of econometrics and other quantitative methods in health economics." [THN]

Computational Finance (CF99)
The sixth international conference on Computational Finance (CF99) will be held at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business from January 6-9, 1999. The first day of the conference is devoted to tutorials designed to inform participants on a selection of the latest tools and research results. The conference will cover many different computational techniques such as statistical machine learning, Monte Carlo simulation, data mining, knowledge discovery, bootstrapping, genetic algorithms, nonparametric methods, information theory and fuzzy logic. [THN]

The European Summer School for Advanced Management
The eleventh session of the European Summer School for Advanced Management (ESSAM) will be held at the Marseille-Provence (France) Graduate School of Business from July 12-25, 1998. The ESSAM aims to provide an international learning experience for full and part-time post-experience MBA participants. The theme for this year's conference will be "Corporate Strategy Within the New European Economic Order." [THN]
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Federal Government Jobs in Financial Management and Accounting
Jobs in Public Finance Management
The Federal Government Jobs web site provides a listing of federal jobs in finance, accounting and budgeting, audit/finance jobs with the Inspector-General Office, jobs with the General Accounting Office, and special government finance jobs. To obtain a weekly listing of new Federal accounting, budget and financial management jobs, users may also subscribe to Jobs in Financial Management. [THN]

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. E-JOE provides announcements of job openings for economists in Europe. The listings are searchable and there is an email alert service providing weekly updates of 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)
Employment Situation--April 1998
US Import and Export Price Indexes--April 1998
Consumer Price Index--April 1998
Producer Price Index--April 1998
Real Earnings--April 1998
The BLS reports that the unemployment rate fell sharply in April to 4.3 percent. It also reports that the U.S. Import Price Index and Export Price Index declined by 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, in April. Meanwhile, on a seasonally adjusted basis, both the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Producer Price Index for Finished Goods posted a similar increase of 0.2 percent in April. Real average weekly earnings decreased by 0.8 percent in April after seasonal adjustment, however, due mainly to a decrease in average weekly hours. [THN]
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District (Beige Book)
Finance Companies--April 1998
Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization--April 1998
The Federal Reserve Board has released the May 6, 1998 issue of the Beige Book which summarizes anecdotal information on current economic conditions in each Federal Reserve District. The report finds that economic growth continued to be moderate to strong in March and April. The Federal Reserve Board also released the latest data for Finance Companies and Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization. [THN]
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Government Information Sharing Project--OSU
1992 Economic Census Update
USA Counties 1996 Update
The Government Information Sharing Project, provided by Oregon State University, has recently added the newly completed Census of Mineral Industries, Census of Construction Industries and Minority and Women-Owned Businesses to its database. In addition, the USA Counties site now features GIS Cloropleth Maps for selected variables. [THN]
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US Census Bureau
1997 State Government Tax Collections Data by State
Quarterly Financial Report for Manufacturing, Mining, and Trade Corporations--Fourth Quarter 1997 [.pdf, 157p.]
The Census Bureau has released the statistics on tax collections by the 50 state governments. The largest source of revenue for the state governments is the sales tax, which accounts for one-third of total tax revenue. The statistics may be downloaded as a text or Excel file. Full text of the Fourth Quarter 1997 QFR is also available. [THN]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Short-Term Energy Outlook
The EIA has released the May 1998 issue of Short-Term Energy Outlook which provides quarterly projections through 1999 for energy demand, supply and prices for major energy products. [THN]
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In the News
Antitrust Case Against Microsoft Special Coverage: Microsoft Sued,5,21935,00.html
Microsoft Under Siege
Findlaw Site on Microsoft
Microsoft Press Pass
Microsoft and the Browser Wars: Fit to be Tied--Cato Institute
US v. Microsoft--DOJ
CPT's Microsoft Antitrust Page
The US House of Representatives Internet Law Library -- Antitrust and Monopoly Law
Antitrust Policy
This week's In the News looks at the antitrust suits filed against Microsoft by the US Justice Department and attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia. The eight resources above provide an overview of the case, arguments on the merits of the case (from both sides), and some resources on antitrust policies. On May 18, 1998, the Department of Justice and attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia filed antitrust suits against Microsoft alleging that Microsoft used its monopoly power in the operating system market to strengthen its hold on the Internet browser market. Microsoft's CEO Bill Gates argued that the case is without merit and defended his company's right to innovate.

C|net's site provides a good summary of the antitrust case that is being developed against Microsoft. Microsoft Under Siege is a special report from PC Week Online on the Department of Justice case against Microsoft. In addition to coverage of the case, the site also offers analysis and reactions from various parties to the case. The Findlaw (discussed in the February 23, 1996 Scout Report) site on Microsoft provides a long list of web resources relating to Microsoft's antitrust case, including documents from earlier Department of Justice investigations of Microsoft. The Microsoft Press Pass site provides information on Microsoft's defense of the antitrust suit. The site features Microsoft's arguments for its right to innovate, a chronology of events, access to Microsoft's legal documents, and research articles on competition and innovation in the software industry. "Microsoft and the Browser Wars: Fit to be Tied," written by Robert Levy of the Cato Institute, argues that the Department of Justice is misguided in its attempt to get Microsoft to offer two versions of its operating system -- one with Internet Explorer and one without. The U.S v. Microsoft site by the Department of Justice contains documents filed by the U.S. government in the case against Microsoft. The Consumer Project on Technology (CPT) Microsoft Antitrust Page provides commentaries and analysis on Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior. The U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library -- Antitrust and Monopoly Law site provides links to various sites where users can find more information on antitrust laws and cases. Antitrust Policy is another site that provides links to economic research, policy and antitrust case studies. [THN]
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The Scout Report for Business & Economics
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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.

Susan Calcari
Jack Solock
Thiam Hee Ng
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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-1998. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report for Business & Economics provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The Internet Scout Project provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material.

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