The Scout Report for Business & Economics - July 30, 1998

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

July 30, 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
* Research * Current Awareness
* Learning Resources * New Data
* General Interest * In the News
American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) 1998 Annual Meeting Selected Papers [.pdf]
The abstracts and selected full text of over one hundred papers soon to be presented at the 1998 American Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT (reviewed in the June 4, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics) have been uploaded to AgEcon Search (reviewed in the November 29, 1996 Scout Report). All titles and abstracts are searchable by keyword, and some full-text topics include the maize market in rural Mozambique, fish markets in France, and risk and profits insurance and pricing strategies for grain producers in the US. The abstracts and full text of nine selected papers from the 1997 AAEA Annual Meeting (reviewed in the November 21, 1997 Scout Report) are also available for download on site [.pdf]. [MW]
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1997-98 State and Metropolitan Area Data Book--US Census Bureau
Acting as an annual supplement to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, the US Census Bureau's 1997-98 State and Metropolitan Area Data Book allows users to see how the nation's states and metro areas compare in everything from banking and births to wages and welfare. The 276-page publication features data for the fifty states, the District of Columbia and 315 metropolitan areas and their component counties and central cities. State and metropolitan rankings arranged in table format on topics such as population by age, average annual pay, and federal funds and grants may be viewed separately on site with additional rankings to be added in the near future. [MW]
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Environmental Accounting Project--EPA
Developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 to help businesses account for environmental costs, the Environmental Accounting Project site offers a wealth of publications designed to educate users on the economic benefits of environmental concern. EAP resources include full-text papers, surveys, reports, and case studies on managerial accounting practices, corporate decision-making processes, environmental policy reforms, and profitability indicators. Case Studies are searchable by industry type, company name or keyword, and the searchable Environmental Accounting Network Directory is helpful for further contact information. [MW]
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NBER Macrohistory Database [.pdf]
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) (discussed in the September 22, 1995 Scout Report) offers a Macrohistory Database of 3500 monthly, quarterly, and annual economic time series on pre-WWI and interwar economies in addition to their other historical data sets and working papers. Fifteen Macrohistory chapters cover United States production, construction, employment, money, prices, asset market transactions, foreign trade, and government activity, with some coverage of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Although the database is searchable by keyword, an analytical index (.pdf format) created by the original NBER compilers gives more detailed information on data series creation and organization. [MW]
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Learning Resources
Losing Ground Bit by Bit: Low-Income Communities in the Information Age
Losing Ground Bit by Bit: Low-Income Communities in the Information Age by Susan Goslee is a report on the effect of current telecommunication technologies on low-income economies; it was published as part of the ongoing collaborative series What's Going On by the Benton Foundation and the National Urban League. Report chapters cover defining the technology gap, gap barriers, the need for better communication policies, and an evaluation of current initiatives to improve communications in underprivileged communities. A resource webliography of the statistical sources, programs and studies used provides annotated links to current data on internet use, telephone access, and the state of working America by institutions such as the Economic Policy Institute, the Federal Communications Commission Industry Analysis Division, and Nielsen Media Research, among others. [MW]
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ITS Directory of Transportation Resources [frames]
An interdisciplinary effort at Princeton University to develop more economically sound and technologically effective transportation systems, the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program (ITS) maintains a directory of transportation resources available on the World Wide Web for educational use. ITS links are frequently updated and are hierarchically arranged from general resources to specific public and private providers of data on highway, transit, rail, water, and air transport systems. All entries are searchable by keyword, and a NetAddress Book with the email addresses and URLs of transportation professionals is useful in fostering discussion among professors, engineers, and students of transportation system use and improvement. [MW]
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Financial Information from US Government Agencies
Originally presented at the June 6, 1998 Special Libraries Association Conference in Indianapolis, IN, Financial Information from US Government Agencies by Miriam Ciochon and Ernie Evangelista is now available in slide presentation format. Slide topics cover the most prolific web-based government resources for economic, banking, and finance research with special consideration of the distinctions between text-based information and data-oriented sites. Web addresses and organizational titles are clearly displayed with concise summaries of site features. A non-graphical view option is also helpful for copying useful information for future reference. [MW]
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Panel Study of Income Dynamics
Conducted at the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) is an ongoing longitudinal survey of 8,700 core households designed to illuminate the economic behavior of individuals in relation to their families as a whole. PSID data files are updated annually and each file supports Boolean searches covering the full time span of the study (1968 to present). Cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intergenerational research is also supported on site by detailed data file documentation and instructions for constructing and downloading user-defined data sets. A bibliography of papers citing PSID data, and other relevant books, journal articles, working papers, dissertations, and government reports is also provided for further inquiry into individual-family economic analysis. [MW]
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General Interest
Owned and operated by the privately held BFC, GetSmart is a borrower's marketplace containing a plethora of loan information and lender connections for small business owners. Tools on site include SmartMatch, a filter designed to compare user loan criteria with GetSmart's lender database of 135 possibilities, and a range of financing categories including lines of credit, real estate lending, equipment loans, A/R financing, and corporate credit cards. A Student Loan Center and AutoLoan Finder add a personal financing touch to the site, but users should be aware that any personal demographic data submitted might be shared by lenders for marketing purposes. An "Opt-Out Policy" clearly listed under GetSmart's "Privacy/Security" menu, however, allows users to exclude themselves from any unwanted solicitations. [MW]
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Ram Research Group's CardWeb Inc. strives to provide comparative information on a variety of US payment cards for consumers and competitive card industry information for executives. On-site tools for consumers include monthly surveys of credit card deals (CardTrak), a national database of bank credit card issuers (CardLocator), and a guide to payment card types and terms (CardLearn), among others. Executives in the payment industry may benefit from a daily news service of business payment card happenings (CardFlash), financial data on the card industry and its players (CardData), and links to current payment card-advertising campaigns (CardWatch) for comparison and analysis. [MW]
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Consumer Information--NCLC
Founded at the Boston College School of Law, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) is a nonprofit corporation committed to the legal problems commonly faced by low-income and financially distressed families. Accurate and authoritative information regarding issues of debt collection abuses, home improvement frauds, usury, and utility terminations, among others, are provided at the Consumer Information section of the site for lawyers, low-income community organizations, public policy makers, consumer and business reporters, and interested citizens, alike. Links to related websites are also provided for additional consumer guidance. [MW]
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What is Barcode?, a compendium of barcode product advertisements and news, offers an informational section entitled, "What is Barcode?" for consumer and business use. A lengthy list of topics covers all types of 1D and 2D barcodes from the Universal Product Code (UPC) to Postnet, the US Postal Service's numeric symbology for sorting mail. Pictorial examples, code symbol meanings, calculations, requirements, and instructions for code syntax and printing are given in addition to general definitions and code histories. [MW]
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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
A. Bank for International Settlements
"One-step Prediction of Financial Time Series," WP57 [.pdf]
"One-step Prediction of Financial Time Series," by Srichander Ramaswamy examines the one-step prediction of financial time series from a binary decision theory perspective. It is shown that, on average, a 27 basis point excess return per annum is possible against a given benchmark by carrying out active duration management. [MW]

B. Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Working Papers [.pdf]
"Institutional Investors, Analyst Following, and the January Anomaly," WP98-8
"Bid-Ask Spreads in Multiple Dealer Settings: Some Experimental Evidence," WP98-9
"The Asian Liquidity Crisis," WP98-10
"Financial Crises in Emerging Markets: A Canonical Model," WP98-11
"Does Monetary Policy Generate Recessions?," WP98-12
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Papers [.pdf]
"Self-Selection and Discrimination in Credit Markets," WP98-09
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Research Archive Staff Reports [.pdf]
"Explaining Cross-Country Income Differences," SR250
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Research Papers [.pdf]
"Securities Class Actions, Corporate Governance and Managerial Agency Problems," 9816
"What Inventory Behavior Tells Us about Business Cycles," 9817
"Does Exchange Rate Stability Increase Trade and Capital Flows?," 9818
"The Rise and Decline of U.S. Internal Labor Markets," 9819

C. International Monetary Fund
IMF Working Papers [.pdf]
The International Monetary Fund has released four new working papers (Nos 91-94) examining issues of asymmetric information and the market structure of the banking industry, bank lending and interest rate changes in a dynamic matching model, leading indicators of banking crises, and north-south trade in Africa. [MW]

D. Wharton Financial Institutions Center
Working Paper Series [.pdf]
"Components of Insurance Firm Value and the Present Value of Liabilities," #98-18
"Scenario Modeling for the Management of International Bond Portfolios," #98-20
"Game Theory and Finance Applications," #98-23
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A. Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Fed Letter [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Southwest Economy and Economic Review [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Second District Highlights [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Business Review [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letters
The August 1998 issue of the monthly newsletter Fed Letter entitled, "Whither the Stock Market?" by Senior Financial Economist David Marshall and Associate Economist Denise Duffy is now available from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The bimonthly publication Southwest Economy (July/August) covering issues of immigration in Texas area economies and the quarterly Economic Review (third quarter 1998) covering income taxes as reciprocal tariffs, seigniorage revenue and monetary policy, and private equity markets are available from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Second District Highlights for July 1998 from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York include a discussion of earnings inequality in the New York-New Jersey region by David Brauer, Beethika Khan, and Elizabeth Miranda. In the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's July/August 1998 edition of Business Review, Gerald A. Carlino covers trends in metropolitan employment growth and Dean Croushore writes on the "surprise of the 1990s" -- low inflation. Two new Economic Letters are also available from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco covering "A New View of Bank Consolidation" by Fred Furlong (98-23) and "Capital Flows and Exchange Rates in the Pacific Basin" by Reuven Glick (98-22). [MW]

B. Other Institutions
World Bank
Poverty Lines [.pdf]
The World Bank has released two new Findings reports for the month of July on issues of extension, decentralization, and village participation in Uganda (No 115), and the shifting paradigm of developing Africa's transport (No 114). A joint publication by the World Bank Policy Research and Poverty and Social Policy Departments, the June 1998 issue of Poverty Lines is also available covering the topic of growth and poverty in Viet Nam (Issue 11). [MW]
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Books and Journals
The abstracts and table of contents for the following journals are now available online: European Economic Review (Vol 42 Nos 3-6), Information Economics and Policy (Vol 10 No 3), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (Vol 22 No 3), Journal of Development Economics (Vol 55 No 2), Journal of Econometrics (Vol 86 No 2), and Journal of Financial Economics (Vol 48 No 3). [MW]
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Wharton Financial Institutions Center: Conferences and Seminars Calendar
The Wharton Financial Institutions Center, independently managed by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, includes a calendar of up-coming conferences and seminars it will sponsor. Because an active dialogue between scholars and practitioners is encouraged, a diverse program of workshops and discussion fora are listed, ranging from "Forecasting Retirement Needs and Retirement Wealth," an industry roundtable, to "Raising Capital in Different National Markets," an academic symposium scheduled for November 5-6, 1998. Meeting titles are listed by date, with some hyperlinks to more detailed information. [MW]

Empirical Investigations in International Trade
The International Economics Group at Purdue University will host the conference, "Empirical Investigations in International Trade," on November 13-15, 1998, to create a forum of current research in this area. Attendance is free, and fifteen special presentations are anticipated. Interested parties, particularly graduate students, are encouraged to submit papers that employ empirical methods. Previous conference programs, submission instructions and lodging information are also available on site for consultation. [MW]
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Job Openings from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Job Openings in Economics
Job Openings in Business and Management
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New Data
(For links to additional sources of new data see the Business & Economics Current Awareness Metapage:

Census Bureau [.pdf]
Annual Benchmark Report for Retail Trade: January 1988 through December 1997
The Census Bureau's Annual Benchmark Report for Retail Trade gives a detailed summary of retail sales, purchases, accounts receivable, and inventories from January 1988 to December 1997. Seven tables give annual and monthly figures by business type with a kind-of-business classification guide and other explanatory material listed in two appendices. Inventory/sales ratios and accounts receivables owed to retail stores are also available in this 56-page report. [MW]
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Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Regional and State Employment and Unemployment: June 1998
Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment: June 1998
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Regional and State Unemployment rates remained relatively stable in June with the forty-two states and the District of Columbia showing shifts of 0.3 percentage point or less. Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment for June 1998 is also available at the BLS home site. [MW]
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Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
US International Trade in goods and services: May 1998
Travel and Tourism Spending in the US: 1992
State Personal Income: First Quarter 1998
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that May 1998 US exports of $76.2 billion and imports of $92.0 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $15.7 billion, $1.5 billion more than the $14.3 billion in April, revised. May exports were $1.0 billion less than April exports of $77.2 billion. May imports were $0.5 billion more than April imports of $91.5 billion. BEA research also indicates that Travel and Tourism Spending in the United States accounted for 5 percent of the gross domestic product in 1992 based on 1992 benchmark input-output accounts. Of the approximately $300 billion in travel and tourism spending, the largest single expenditure was for airline fares ($81 billion), which was followed by lodging ($56 billion) and by meals and beverages (approximately $50 billion). State Personal Income for the First Quarter 1998 showed growth rates above the nation's inflation rate in all fifty states according to the BEA. The five states with the fastest growth in personal income were Alaska, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Arizona. [MW]
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
USDA Reports Calendars: July 1998
USDA Agency Reports Calendar
ERS Calendar
NASS Calendar
USDA summarizes its report releases from various sources (the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the world Agricultural Outlook Board) at these three calendar sites. Notable data for the end of July, 1998 include the NASS Farm Production Expenditures report for 1997. US farm production expenditures totaled $181.1 billion in 1997, up 3.5 percent from the revised 1996 total of $175.0 billion. The largest two expenditure categories for this total included feed at 13.9 percent and farm services at 13.4 percent. [MW]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Electric Power Annual: 1997 [.pdf]
According to the EIA's Electric Power Annual, electric utility generating capability in the United States totaled 712,033 megawatts in 1997, and electric utilities received 881 million short tons of coal, 118 million barrels of petroleum, and 2,765 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas at a total delivered cost of $33 billion. Coal accounted for 84 percent of the total Btu content of fossil fuels delivered in 1997, while gas and petroleum accounted for 13 and 3 percent, respectively. [MW]
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In the News
Monetary Policy, Wall Street, and Alan Greenspan's Humphrey-Hawkins Report to Congress
1. Humphrey-Hawkins Testimony--FRB
2. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
3. Coverage of the US Budget--NY Times
4. Budget of the US Government, FY 1999--GPO
5. The Commanding Heights: The New Battleground of Ideas--Intellectual Capital
6. An Unfathomable Economy--US News & World Report
7. Corporate Prophet--Christian Science Monitor
8. Stock Market Bubbles: Some Historical Perspective
9. Bear Market Musings
10. Countdown to 9000 Special Report--CNNfn
This week's In the News examines Federal Board of Governors Chairman Alan Greenspan's Monetary Policy Testimony and Report to Congress, issued July 21, 1998. These ten resources give background information on Chairman Greenspan's opinion, the US Congressional budget process, and the relationship between federal regulation and stock market activity. Also provided are links to official FRB Humphrey-Hawkins testimony and reaction. Although the performance of the US economy continues to be "impressive," according to Greenspan, important "crosscurrents" may seriously impact the US economy in the future. Stirring fear in the hearts of Wall Street investors and US congressmen alike, Chairman Greenspan cited financial crises in Russia (reviewed in the July 16, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics) and Japan (reviewed in the June 18, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics) as leading indicators of possible stagnation and inflation in America's economic future. Such cautionary words initially sent the Dow Jones industrial average plunging fifty points following the press release, but other factors such as the General motors strike in Flint, MI (reviewed in the July 2, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics) and possible government instability caused by the Monica Lewinsky Case may also produce new prudence on the trading floor.

The July 21, 1998 Monetary Policy Testimony and Report to the Congress of Alan Greenspan (1) is available at the Federal Reserve Board home site. Previous Humphrey-Hawkins bi-annual testimony is also available dating back to 1996. In addition, the Federal Reserve Board offers general press releases, an index of FRB Reports to Congress, and daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly statistical releases such as Selected Interest Rates (2). For complete coverage of US budget happenings, the New York Times has compiled a collection of recent articles (available freely after registration in the US only), as well as links to related reports, a glossary of budget terms, and an outline of the federal budget process (3). An annotated index of US Government Budget Documents describing the budget process, financial measures and economic policy is accessible via the US Government Printing Office (GPO) (4). Written previous to Chairman Greenspan's testimony, the editorial article by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw entitled "The Commanding Heights: The New Battleground of Ideas" for Intellectual Capital (5) questions the role of government in the American marketplace. The articles "An Unfathomable Economy," by James K. Glassman of US News & World Report (6) and "Corporate Prophet" by Lynde McCormick of the Christian Science Monitor (7) offer editorial views following the July 21 FRB testimony. Lynde McCormick, in particular, comments on Chairman Greenspan's incredible influence over the nation's governmental and corporate landscape. For a historical glance into the factors behind past US stock market highs and lows, Achla Marathe, Los Alamos, NM and Edward Renshaw, Department of Economics, State University of New York at Albany, present their essay "Stock Market Bubbles: Some Historical Perspective" (8). Further historical stock market analyses by financial pros such as Peter Lynch, Ron Chernow, and Diana Henriques, among others, is available from PBS in the compilation of interviews entitled "Bear Market Musings" (9), while links to current stock market quotes, articles, and editorials are available from the CNNfn Special Report "Countdown to 9000" (10). [MW]
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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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