The Scout Report for Business & Economics - March 25, 1999

The Scout Report for Business & Economics

March 25, 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


Joint BIS-IMF-OECD World Bank Statistics on External Debt [.pdf, .xls]
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD), and the World Bank began publishing quarterly statistics on external debt cooperatively on March 15, 1999 to facilitate access to previously separate data releases. The Joint BIS-IMF-OECD World Bank Statistics on External Debt primarily emanate from creditor and market sources and cover 176 "developing and transition countries" (1996-present). The stock of debt, flow figures, and data on international reserves may be downloaded in a compressed executable Excel workbook format, although differences in coverage by country may exist due to differences in the data collecting procedures of contributing institutions. [MW]
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Lippincott Library Corporate Annual Reports [.pdf]
The University of Pennsylvania/ Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image provides facsimiles of historical corporate annual reports from the Lippincott Library collection at this searchable site. Over 40 reports by automotive, department store, food, natural resource, railroad, textile, and utility companies are available mainly from the 1930s and 40s. [MW]
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Issues Center: Hog and Pork Prices -- USDA ERS
The US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) tracks the downward price trend of US hog prices since December 1998 at this Issues Center page. In a detailed introduction, ERS analysts outline factors such as increased market spreads over the past 25 years, retail price changes, and hog slaughter capacity. Links to current USDA ERS research complete the site. [MW]
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Banana Split: USA Challenges EU Trade Policies -- Eldis
This new research guide from Eldis, the Electronic Development and Environment Information System, (described in the October 9, 1997 Scout Report for Business & Economics) presents background information on the US-EU Banana Trade Dispute (discussed in the March 5, 1999 Scout Report). The guide covers US and Latin American banana producer discontent in addition to perspectives from Caribbean banana exporters, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). [MW]
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corp-ethics Group
Launched in December 1998, this electronic discussion list seeks to publicize and debate corporate ethical and unethical behavior. Corp-ethics creator Mike P. McKeever encourages list members to share stories about the corporate decisions that affect people, nations, and the environment in order to develop a new code of ethics. A complete searchable archive is available online. [MW]

To subscribe, send a message to:
Do not type anything into the subject line or body of the message.
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Learning Resources

A Financial Overview of the Managed Care Industry [.pdf]
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (reviewed in the February 9, 1999 Scout Report for Social Sciences) reports on key financial trends in the HMO industry in A Financial Overview of the Managed Care Industry. According to this factsheet, HMO stocks grew significantly faster than the market as a whole during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but lost eleven percent of their value between 1995 and 1997. Authors cite a rise in premiums following 1997 as a major force for HMO recovery, but find that current HMO returns remain significantly lower than those in other industries. [MW]
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Accounting for the Year 2000 Problem
Carol E. Brown of Oregon State University authors this resource page with Y2K information for accounting students. Page topics range from financial reporting issues to Congressional hearings on the Y2K problem as well as other federal and international government documents. [MW]
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Courses on Economic Transition -- CEES
The Copenhagen Business School Center for East European Studies (CEES) gathers undergraduate, graduate, and PhD-level current course materials on transition economies in Eastern Europe, at this Courses on Economic Transition page. Readers will find course aims, contents, and teaching method information in addition to research links and an extensive bibliography of recommended readings.
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The European Union: A Guide for Americans
The European Union (EU) presents the The European Union: A Guide for Americans as an introduction to the workings of the EU system as well as EU-US relations. Seven chapters span EU history, governance, and the euro, and a timeline of European Integration, maps, photos, and resource links enrich this useful text. [MW]
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Tracking Major Economic Indicators on the World Wide Web
Tracking Major Economic Indicators on the World Wide Web is a business research guide from the Reeves School of Business at Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC. Twelve topical pages point users to Websites where they can find balance of trade, capacity utilization, foreign exchange rates, and gross domestic product, among other figures. Note: selected for-fee services such as the Wall Street Journal Interactive are included in many resource lists. [MW]
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General Interest
Formerly known as InvestorsEdge, is a "personalized online investment tool" from the San Francisco-based financial company Stockpoint. Among other services, users may create an investment portfolio (registration required), view market news, retrieve company quotes, and read personal finance advice from syndicated columnist Eric Tyson on-site. [MW]
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Executive Woman's Travel Network
The Executive Woman's Travel Network, from Delta Air Lines and American Express, aims to make business trips "easier, safer and more productive" for businesswomen. The site hosts a Travel Resource Center with business travel tips ranging from safety pointers to the power needs of laptop computers. The City Profile section presents "essential" information on major international cities. [MW]
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US News Online Business School Comparison
US News Online allows readers to compare business graduate schools using data in US News's annual Graduate Rankings report. Up to four schools may be selected at a time, and US News will deliver information on admissions, costs, the student body, and employment prospects in addition to business graduate school homepage links. [MW]
[Back to Contents] is a quarterly report on the electronic business marketplace from BusinessWeek Online. Weekly columns on E-business stocks, companies, and legal issues are also available on-site in addition to daily updates from CNET News. [MW]
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Created by Sharmine Narwani and Elias Shams, is a search engine that places a variety of telecommunication industry resources "under one roof." Users may compare products and services or create daily, weekly, or monthly stock performance charts for major telecommunications companies from a simple search form. [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 System:

FRB Atlanta Working Papers [.pdf]
An Experimental Study of Circuit Breakers: Effects of Mandated Market Closures and Temporary Halts on Market Behavior

FRB Boston Working Papers [.pdf]
Fiscal Retrenchments and the Level of Economic Activity
Productivity Shocks, Investment, and the Real Interest Rate

FRB New York Staff Reports [.pdf]
Determinants of Currency Risk Premiums
Bank Loan Sales: A New Look at the Motivations for Secondary Market Activity
Looking beyond the CEO: Executive Compensation at Banks
The Role of Consumption Substitutability in the International Transmission of Shocks

FRB San Francisco Working Papers [.pdf]
Fiscal Policy and Productivity Growth in the OECD
Optimal Redistributive Capital Taxation in a Neoclassical Growth Model

Other Institutions:

Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Working Papers [.pdf]
Macroeconomic Inventory Adjustment and Aggregate Dynamics
The Pricing of Bank Lending and Borrowing: Evidence from the Federal Funds Market

World Bank Policy Research Working Papers [.pdf]

The World Bank Group offers abstracts and links to full-text working papers on development issues at the Policy Research Working Papers site. New additions are listed beneath the following topical sub-division pages:

Education and Labor Markets
Gross Worker and Job Flows in a Transition Economy: An Analysis of Estonia

Environmentally Sustainable Development
Valuing Mortality Reductions in India: A Study of Compensating-Wage Differentials

International Economics
Reforming Cote d'Ivoire's Cocoa Marketing and Pricing System
The Search for the Key: Aid, Investment, and Policies in Africa

Poverty and Social Services
Monitoring Targeting Performance When Decentralized Allocations to the Poor Are Unobserved
Is More Targeting Consistent With Less Spending?
Microdeterminants of Consumption, Poverty, Growth, and Inequality in Bangladesh
Between Group Inequality and Targeted Transfers
Growth, Poverty, and Inequality: A Regional Panel for Bangladesh

Transition Economies [.pdf]
Change in the Perception of the Poverty Line during Times of Depression: Russia 1993-96

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Working Papers [.pdf]
Credit Allocation and Financial Crisis in Korea
Taxation in Latin America: Structural Trends and Impact of Administration
Are There International R&D Spillovers Among Randomly Matched Trade Partners? A Response to Keller
Large Capital Flows - A Survey of the Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses
Interest Rate Arbitrage in Currency Baskets: Forecasting Weights and Measuring Risk
Exchange Rate Unification, the Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate, and Choice of Exchange Rate Regime: The Case of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Consumption and Income Inequality in Poland During the Economic Transition
The Morning After: Explaining the Slowdown in Japanese Growth in the 1990s'
The Euro and the Production Structure and Export Performance of Middle East and North African Countries
Sectorial Macroeconomic Interdependencies: Evidence for Latin America, East Asia and Europe
Enemy of None but a Common Friend of All? An International Perspective on the Lender-of-Last-Resort Function
Implications of EMU for Exchange Rate Policy in Central and Eastern Europe
REPMOD: A Smaller Sibling for MULTIMOD
Inflation Targeting in Korea: An Empirical Exploration
Privatization in Transition Countries: A Sampling of the Literature

Wharton Financial Institutions Center Working Papers [.pdf]
Value Creation and Process Management: Evidence from Retail Banking
Scenario Modeling of Selective Hedging Strategies
Tail Estimation and Catastrophe Security Pricing: Can We Tell What Target We Hit if We Are Shooting in the Dark?
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Federal Reserve System:
FRB Atlanta Financial Update
FRB Chicago Fed Letter with a special issue [.pdf]
FRB Dallas Houston Business
FRB San Francisco Economic Letters
FRB Atlanta's most recent Financial Update (Vol 12 No 1) contains a detailed cover story on the Y2K Contingency Planning Teleconference for Bankers held December 14, 1998. The April 1999 edition of Fed Letter from FRB Chicago provides an outlook for the Midwest economy and includes a special issue with Workforce 2000 conference summaries. This month's Houston Business from FRB Dallas looks at the weak commodity prices affecting the Gulf Coast as well as real estate and construction issues. The latest Economic Letters from the San Francisco fed covers American monetary policy from 1927 to 1939 and the effects of Federal Reserve Bank decisions during the Great Crash. [MW]

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Regional Outlook, national edition [.pdf]
The FDIC has released the national edition of Regional Outlook for the first quarter of 1999. Recent trends in bank lending are available for the US as a whole in addition to regional perspectives from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Memphis, New York, and San Francisco. [MW]

International Monetary Fund (IMF) _Finance & Development_
IMF authors analyze the monetary policy of the Eurosystem, foreign direct investment in developing countries, and the impact of the Asian financial crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, among other international issues in the March 1999 edition of Finance & Development (Vol 36 No 1). Current reviews of books covering global issues are also included as well as links to the Finance & Development archive (March 1996-December 1998). [MW]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include Mr Duisenberg's strategy for the euro and Mr Schieber's look at the euro's effects on Germany and the Bundesbank. [MW]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
Economic Outlook
John H. Makin looks at global inflation and a G-7 preoccupation with fixed exchange rates in the March 1999 Economic Outlook from the AEI. Makin includes examples of Japanese, Russian, and Latin American devaluations as well as EU and US policy. [MW]
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Books and Journals

BakerBooks -- Harvard Business School
The latest issues of New Books at Baker Library and New Books from HBS Press are now available from Harvard University's BakerBooks site. These updates are posted by the fifteenth of each month and cover new additions for the preceding month. [MW]

Econbase -- Elsevier
The abstracts and tables of contents for the following journals are now available online: Ecological Economics (Vol 28 No 1), Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (Vol 23 No 2), Journal of Development Economics (Vol 58 No 2), Journal of Econometrics (Vol 89 Nos 1-2), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control (Vol 23 No 4), Journal of Financial Markets (Vol 2 No 1), Research Policy (Vol 28 Nos 2-3). [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. Interested parties may specify their interests and receive email notifications of up-coming events, or they may search the Inomics conference database by date, geographic location, or JEL classification. [MW]

Bridging Gaps in Financing Infrastructure
The second Euro-Atlantic Conference on Potential in Public-Private Co-operation in Central and Eastern European Countries will be held in Warsaw, Poland, May 10-12, 1999 on the theme Bridging Gaps in Financing Infrastructure. Keynote speakers will explore road transport, railways, and the energy sector among other issues, and a complete program and sponsorship information is available online. [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)

Inomics: Job Openings for Economists
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New Data

Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB BOG)
Flow of Funds of the United States, Fourth Quarter 1998
Debt rose at 6-1/4 percent during 1998, the greatest pace in eight years, according to the latest FRB BOG Flow of Funds of the United States release. Federal debt contracted nearly 1-1/2 percent last year, but debt in the nonfederal sectors increased by 8-3/4 percent, approximately 2 percentage points faster than figures in 1997. [MW]
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Census Bureau
Advance Report: 1997 Economic Census Data [.pdf]
This report utilizes a new business classification mechanism, the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, for the first time and provides findings on information, high-tech, and support services, among other key sectors of the nation's economy. Statistical tables with NAICS and SIC-based data are currently available in addition to Economic Census guides and a list of related sites. [MW]
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Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
US International Transactions: Fourth Quarter and Year 1998
The US current-account deficit increased to a record-setting $233.4 billion in 1998 from $155.2 billion in 1997, according to the latest US International Transactions release from the US BEA. Fourth quarter 1998 data shows a US current-account deficit decrease to $63.8 billion from $65.7 billion in the third (revised). [MW]
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Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Real Earnings, February 1999
Consumer Price Index, February 1999
Producer Price Indexes, February 1999
According to US BLS this month, real average weekly earnings increased by 0.7 percent from January to February due to increases in average weekly hours and average hourly earnings, although the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was flat. The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods declined at 0.4 percent in February following increases of 0.5 percent in January and 0.4 percent in December. [MW]
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
USDA Reports Calendars -- March 1999
USDA Agency Reports Calendar
ERS 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 two calendar sites. [MW]
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Renewable Energy Annual 1999: Issues and Trends [.pdf]
Renewable energy provided only three percent of US utility power purchases overall in 1995, and the average purchase price of electricity from non-utilities using renewable energy was 31 percent higher than the average retail price, according the US EIA's latest Renewable Energy Annual 1999: Issues and Trends. The EIA presents additional data on renewable electricity purchases, transmission pricing issues for electricity, wood energy, and wind energy, among other topics, in this 90-page release. [MW]
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In The News

(1) OPEC Slashes Oil Production -- BBC News
(2) Why Prices at the Pump May Go Up More -- Christian Science Monitor
(3) Eyes on Oil -- CNNfn
(4) Drowning in Oil and Why Cheap Oil May Be Bad -- The Economist
(5) Bloomberg: Energy
(6) OPEC Home Page
(7) US Energy Information Administration (EIA)
This week's In the News looks at the latest attempts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to curb record low oil prices. In an effort to lift prices from 1998 lows of ten dollars per barrel to eighteen dollars per barrel by April 1, 2000, OPEC ministers agreed to limit oil exports by 2.1 million barrels per day at a March meeting in Vienna. The so-called Hague pact includes non-OPEC producers in Mexico, Norway, Russia, and Oman, and if all nations comply, the world oil market should shrink by 2.6 percent. Although the decision has increased optimism among American oil producers, skeptics question whether or not economically depressed countries like Russia can afford the cuts. According to Mehdi Varzi of finance house Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, however, "if [OPEC] gets 75 percent compliance it's very good news for oil prices." The following seven resources provide news, analysis, financial data, and background information on falling oil prices.

The BBC News article, OPEC Slashes Oil Production (1), provides an overview of the OPEC pact, related articles, and opinion, while Why Prices at the Pump May Go Up More from the Christian Science Monitor Electronic Edition (2) focuses on oil market effects on US consumers. The CNNfn special report, Eyes on Oil (3), looks oil industry news since November 1998, and two articles from The Economist (4) analyze the topic at length. News and oil market data are available from Bloomberg: Energy (5), and the OPEC Home Page (6) and the US EIA (7) present monthly petroleum market reports in addition to other research. [MW]
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