The Scout Report for Business & Economics - February 11, 1999

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

February 11, 1999

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


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


FY2000 US Federal Budget Publications and the 1999 Economic Report of the President [.pdf, .wk4, .xls]
Search Engine:
Description of the Documents:
Budget of the US Government:
Economic Report of the President:
The latest Federal Budget Publications and the Economic Report of the President are now accessible from these US Government Printing Office sites. Users can conduct full-text searches of individual sections such as FY2000 Analytical Perspectives, Historical Tables, and Appendix via the Office of Management and Budget search engine, and the Description of Documents page lists downloading instructions. The complete files are available from the Budget of the US Government site. This year, the Economic Report of the President features chapters on the benefits of a strong labor market as well as analyses of the global economy and reforms in the international financial system. [MW]
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Ethical Business: the Search for Research
ELDIS, the Electronic Development and Environment Information System, (described in the October 9, 1997 Scout Report for Business & Economics) provides this "selection of useful materials" on ethical business and fair trading issues. Sections of the site include Social standards, Environmental standards, Anti-corruption, and The corporate response -- a list of resources on marketing responses to public attitudes -- and each is introduced with a brief picture of the relevant public policy debates. In addition, the site also provides overviews of current corporate monitoring methods as well as case studies for an in-depth look at the impact of corporate reporting standards. [MW]
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Economic Outlook for East Asia [.pdf]
An Institute for Developing Economies (IDE) publication, the 1999 Economic Outlook for East Asia analyzes the East Asian countries in 1998 and presents forecasts for 1999 (in English and Japanese). According to IDE, Thailand and South Korea will begin to see signs of recovery in the coming year, as the impact of the new Miyazawa Initiative is felt, although Hong Kong will remain "afflicted" by recession. Malaysia and Singapore are also expected to recover as will the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. As a whole, the growth rate for the East Asian economies is predicted to rise to 3.1 percent in 1999 from 0.1 percent, and general prices are forecast to "swing back" to a single-digit inflation rate of 6.6 percent. [MW]
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The Economic Geography Research Group
A member of the royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers, the Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) aims "to foster research and its dissemination" in the field of economic geography. A growing number of working papers (1998-present), conference announcements, and book reviews are available at the EGRG site, in addition to funding sources and research links. [MW]
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Home Mortgage Disclosure Act -- FFIEC
Enacted by Congress in 1975, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) requires US banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other mortgage lending institutions to disclose their home mortgage and home improvement lending activity annually. Access to HMDA data with loan amounts by metropolitan area as well as the demographic make-up of applicants, is available at this Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) page. Users can also search a database of FFIEC data depository locations with HMDA reports or obtain background information on HMDA history and the financial institutions it affects. [MW]
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Learning Resources

Internet Learning Materials for MBA Students
New to Biz/ed (first described in the September 20, 1996 Scout Report), this guide aims to enrich MBA studies with "high quality Internet materials." Site contents "introduce" the Internet to new users and include sections with accounting and finance, business economics, human resource management, marketing, strategy, and operations management links to both government and academic sources. [MW]
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VassarStats Statistical Computation Website
Created by Richard Lowry, Department of Psychology, Vassar College, the VassarStats Statistical Computation Website is a large collection of statistical calculators for categorical frequency data, proportions, ordinal data, and correlation and regression, among other procedures. The site includes a helpful table on the platforms and browsers needed to run particular simulations, and each page provides examples to key concepts. [MW]
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Fedgazette Focus: Hog Markets
This January 1999 issue of Fedgazette from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis focuses on the recent downward spiral of hog prices to historic lows in the Midwest. Over ten articles explore pork prices, agricultural finance, and whether or not "agriculture is in crisis" across the nation. Additional links to maps, charts and economic statistics offer other educational resources on the issue from the Ninth Federal Reserve District site. [MW]
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The Trade Card Place
Author and collector Ben Crane maintains The Trade Card Place for "all who are interested in Victorian Trade Cards used to advertise American goods and services during the late 1800s." Although the site is geared toward collectors, hosting dealer, collector, and organization directories for the potential Victorian Trade Card buyer, advertising students may also be interested, as Crane includes articles on trade card history and, in his Victorian Scrapbook archive, has posted thumbnail images of cards on subjects ranging from beverages and clothing to toys and tobacco. [MW]
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The Employment Situation -- BLS
A monthly US Bureau of Labor Statistics publication, the Employment Situation presents current employment, unemployment, and labor force data from the two major government surveys, the Current Population Survey (household survey) and the Current Employment Statistics Survey (establishment survey). Specific information on the employment status of the civilian population, duration of unemployment, employees on nonfarm payrolls and average hours of production is available in addition to selected historical series with user-defined output options (1989-present). The latest Employment Situation shows that employment rose in January, but unemployment remained unchanged. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 245,000 and gains occurred in most major industry divisions. The average hourly earnings increased by six cents. [MW]
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General Interest

21st Century Retirement Calculator
Available from US News Online and Watson Wyatt Worldwide, the 21st Century Retirement Calculator creates a "financial picture" of retirement for planning purposes. A variety of "dig deeper" links educate users as they calculate, and links to related articles supply "fund picks" for types from "Ally McBeal" (single, mid-20s) to "George Costanza" (no savings) and "the cigarette smoker" (a prospective retiree). [MW]
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Fortune: 100 Best Companies to Work For
Synovus Financial rates highest and L.L. Bean rates lowest among Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For. Fortune, the Great Place to Work Institute, and Hewitt Associates studied over 1,000 large and midsized firms to determine which have the best employee compensation programs, stock options, and training and development, among other perks. Each ranking includes revenue, employee demographics, turnover rate, and hiring and benefit information. [MW]
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Planet Business
The directory Planet Business aims to provide a "great gateway between Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania." Business metasites from around the world are listed in an A-Z index and by region, and the new Marketplace of Planet Business connects potential business partners among importers, exporters, traders, and distributors. [MW]
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Forex News
Forex News, by the Money Garden Financial Group, is a source of foreign exchange (FOREX) news and analysis. Site contents are updated daily, and articles cover political issues in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and beyond, as well as currency trading. [MW]
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StockMaster is a stock and fund charting service by, Inc. StockMaster provides a free portfolio service (registration required) in addition to charts. Research links to company profiles, earnings histories, quotes, and news keep users up-to-date on the "most active" among stocks. [MW]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the Business & Economics Current Awareness Metapage:

Working Papers

Federal Reserve Board of Governors:
Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS) [.pdf]
No 52: Asset Pooling, Credit Rationing, and Growth
No 51: Bank Risk Rating of Business Loans

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Cleveland 1998 Working Paper Series [.pdf]
No 9823: Central Bank Intervention and Overnight Uncovered Interest Rate Parity
No 9822: Sources of Business Cycles in Korea and the United States
No 9821: Private Money Creation and the Suffolk Banking System
No 9820: Will Electronic Money be Adopted in the United States?

FRB New York 1999 Staff Reports [.pdf]
Do Investors Mistake a Good Company for a Good Investment?
Are Apparent Findings of Nonlinearity Due to Structural Instability in Economic Time Series?
Competitive Devaluations: A Welfare-Based Approach

FRB Kansas City 1998 Research Working Papers [.pdf]
No 9807: Term Structure Views of Monetary Policy

Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Policy Papers [.pdf]
No 3: The Transmission Mechanism of Monetary Policy in Emerging Market Economies

Institute for International Economics (IIE) 1999 Working Papers [.pdf]
No 9902: Famine in North Korea: Causes and Cures
No 9901: Rigorous Speculation: The Collapse and Revival of the North Korean Economy

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Country Reports [.pdf]
No 9902: Jamaica - Selected Issues
No 9901: Australia - Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix

Stockholm School of Economics:
Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance (S-WoPEc) [.pdf]
No 299: On the Power and Interpretation of Panel Unit Root Tests
No 298: Transparency and Competition
No 297: Starting Values in Estimation of Cointegrating Vectors with Restrictions
No 296: A Simple Variable Selection Technique for Nonlinear Models
No 295: Asymmetric Shocks and Policy Responses: A comparative analysis of the effects of a monetary union.

S-WoPEc Seminar Papers [.pdf]
No 650: Tradeoffs Between Inflation and Output-Gap Variances in an Optimization-Agent Model
No 649: The Robustness and Efficiency of Monetary Policy Rules as Guidelines for Interest Rate Setting by the European Central Bank
No 648: International Experiences With Different Monetary Policy Regimes
No 647: Tax Arbitrage and Labor Supply
No 646: Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule
No 645: Swedish Lessons for Post-Socialist Countries
No 644: Nominal Income Targeting in an Open-Economy Optimizing Model
No 643: Money Growth Targeting
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Federal Reserve System:
FRB Chicago Fed Letter [.pdf]
FRB Dallas Southwest Economy [.pdf]
FRB San Francisco Economic Letters
This month's Chicago Fed Letter focuses on the effects of international issues on US growth and includes forecasts from the December 4, 1998 Chicago Fed Economic Outlook Symposium. The latest Southwest Economy from FRB Dallas recaps the 1998 Texas economy and offers a forecast for 1999. Issues of "recycling America's corporate elite" and "diagnosing international financial crises" are also presented. The recent FRB San Francisco Economic Letters examines the goals of US monetary policy as well as bias in the consumer price index (CPI). [MW]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include an address on the New Zealand dollar and recent business cycle by Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Dr. Donald T. Brash, and an address on economic policy by Svein Gjedrem, Governor of the Central Bank of Norway. [MW]

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Focus Hot File
This February, the OECD looks at advisory bodies of government in the Czech Republic; a performance-related pay program in Korea; and women, quality, and competence in Norway's government sector, among other issues in the Focus Hot File.[MW]

World Bank
Issues of gender, growth, and poverty reduction as well as environmental information systems in Sub-Saharan Africa are treated in the latest Findings by the World Bank (Nos 128 & 129). [MW]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
Latin American Outlook
Entitled "A Bag of Uncertainties in 1999," this month's Latin American Outlook discusses recent monetary instability in Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile. [MW]
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Books and Journals

Baker & Taylor
Baker & Taylor Latest Books in Business -- February 1999
Baker & Taylor Latest Books in Economics -- February 1999
Baker & Taylor lists business and economics books published in February. [MW]

Econbase -- Elsevier
The abstracts and tables of contents for the following journals are now available online: Ecological Economics (Vol 27 Nos 2-3), Economic Modelling (Vol 16 No 1), Journal of Banking and Finance (Vol 23 No 1), Journal of Development Economics (Vol 57 No 2), Journal of Health Economics (Vol 18 No 1), Journal of International Financial Markets (Vol 9 No 1), Journal of Multinational Financial Management (Vol 9 No 1), Labour Economics (Vol 5 No 4), Mathematical Social Sciences (Vol 36 No 3, Vol 37 No 1), Resource and Energy Economics (Vol 20 No 4, Vol 21 No 1). [MW]
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Inomics Conference Calls:
Email Conference Alert
Conference Search
The economics research service Inomics (described in the June 18, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics) includes a conference alert service. Users who desire updates may specify their interests and receive email notifications of up-coming events, or they can search the Inomics conference database by date, geographic location, or JEL classification. [MW]

Globalization 2000
A call for papers has been issued for the interdisciplinary conference Globalization 2000: Convergence or Divergence? to be held at the University of Calgary, Canada, September 24-26, 1999. G2000 aims "to contribute to a more comprehensive and systematic examination of the globalization process." Contact information is available online. [MW]

Consumer Policy in the 21st Century
Over 20 sessions on topics of health care, welfare reform, consumer information, and boycotts will be presented March 25-27 in Chicago, IL at the American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI) 46th annual conference entitled Consumer Policy in the 21st Century. Consumer educators, researchers, and policy analysts are invited to attend, and complete program and registration information is available on site. [MW]
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Job Openings from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Job Openings in Economics
Job Openings in Business and Management

Job Openings for Economists (JOE)
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New Data

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter 1998
State Quarterly Personal Income, Third Quarter 1998
Increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for durable goods, exports of goods, and producers' durable equipment (PDE) contributed to an "acceleration in real GDP," according to preliminary data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. The real gross domestic product increased by $103.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 1998, following an increase of $67.9 billion in the third. Personal income for the nation grew by 1.1 percent in the third quarter of 1998, mirroring rates during the second quarter. Fast rates of growth were recorded in the western states of Nevada (1.9 percent), Colorado (1.7 percent), Washington (1.6 percent), and Arizona (1.6 percent), and slow growth was documented in Montana (-0.7 percent), Indiana (0.1 percent), South Dakota (0.4 percent), and Iowa (0.4 percent). [MW]
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Census Bureau
Poverty Estimates for School Districts
The US Census Bureau has released 1995 poverty and population estimates for 15,000 of the nation's school districts. The Department of Education will use this data to make funding decisions for the 1999-2000 school year. Background papers as well as complete downloading instructions are available online. [MW]
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Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment, December 1998
In December, 212 metropolitan areas recorded unemployment rates below the US average (4.0 percent, not seasonally adjusted), while 110 areas had higher rates, according to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest jobless rates were recorded in Yuma, AZ at 20.0 percent and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX at 17.8 percent, while the lowest jobless rates were found in Charlottesville, VA and Columbia, MO at 1.1 and 1.2 percent respectively. [MW]
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
USDA Reports Calendars -- February 1999
USDA Agency Reports Calendar
ERS Calendar
Census of Agriculture
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 two calendar sites. Notable data for February 1999 includes the NASS Census of Agriculture. This comprehensive source is published every five years and provides data on agricultural production and operator characteristics at national, state, and county levels. [MW]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Short-Term Energy Outlook, February 1999
According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook from the EIA, oil prices will rise slightly from their historically low levels for the rest of 1999. In making this forecast, the EIA assumes a slight growth in Asian oil demand during the coming year, no large increases in Iraqi oil exports, normal weather, and no significant growth in OPEC and non-OPEC oil production. [MW]
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In The News

Update on Brazil
(1) Issue in Depth: The World Financial Crisis -- The New York Times (registration required)
(2) US and IMF Rescue Banks in Brazil -- WSWS
(3) Brazil Devalues Currency --
(4) Message from Brazil --
(5) Crisis in Brazil: A "Passing Cloud" or "Act 3 of Global Financial Crisis?" -- USIA
(6) All the World's Newspapers: Brazil
(7) "After Brazil" -- The Economist
(8) A Decisive Election in Brazil -- AEI
(9) Social Watch: Brazil
(10) Government of Brazil (Portuguese and English)
This week's In the News follows past reports of financial crisis in Brazil (see the September 24, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics). Since foreign investors began withdrawing their holdings in Latin America's largest economy last September, the Brazilian real began a long plummet, ending in devaluation on January 13, 1999. Measures to curb the currency crisis have included fiscal reforms by recently re-elected Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and a "rescue package" of $41.2 billion from the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Although many journalists view the Brazilian devaluation as another ominous sign of "global economic crisis" stemming from "Asian contagions," others emphasize that it is "too early to panic" and assert that pessimism about Brazil's state is "premature" and "excessive." The following ten resources chronicle news and opinion on causes and effects from around the world and provide background information on Brazil.
The New York Times' Issue in Depth report on the World Financial Crisis (1) is a large compilation of economic news stories from Fall 1998 to present. Articles specifically addressing Brazil include "The Brazil Effect on Commodities" and "Brazil's Economic Crisis Pits President Against Governors." The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) article, US and IMF Rescue Banks in Brazil (2), outlines how the devaluation of the Brazilian real might effect other nations and presents a socio-economic picture of Latin America's largest economy. The two reports, "Brazil Devalues Currency" (3) and "Message from Brazil" (4), cover the January 13 devaluation and emphasize the "ripple effects" of "capital flight." Crisis in Brazil: A "Passing Cloud" or "Act 3 of Global Financial Crisis?" (5) is a United States Information Agency (USIA) survey of 62 news reports from 19 countries. A good place to begin a more focused analysis of news items from Latin America is the Australian search engine Wombat with links to All the World's Newspapers by country (6). The opinion pieces "After Brazil" (7), from The Economist, and A Decisive Election in Brazil (8), from the American Enterprise Institute, look at the role of Brazil's central bank and President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in deciding how to avoid future pitfalls. Background information from Social Watch (9) and the official Government of Brazil site (10) pictures Brazil as a populous and diverse place with extreme social inequality. [MW]
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