The Scout Report for Business & Economics - December 2, 1999

December 2, 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


The State of Food Insecurity in the World 1999 [.pdf, 1028K]
This excellent report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI), found that, in 1999, 790 million people in the Third World are undernourished, and 34 million in First and Second World nations also do not have enough to eat. Although the number of undernourished people has dropped by 40 million since 1996, a decline of 8 million a year, the world will not be able to meet the 1996 World Food Summit goal of reducing the number of starving people to about 400 million in 2015. This 35-page report is filled with graphically rendered data sets, maps, glossaries of defined terms, and side bars highlighting specific countries and issues. SOFI's presentation conveys the urgency of the issues surrounding the world's food insecurity clearly and concisely. [EM]
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Estimating and Interpreting Probability Density Functions -- BIS [.pdf]
This 294-page document from the Bank for International Settlements stems from the Estimating and Interpreting Probability Density Functions workshop held on June 14, 1999. The conference proceedings, which may be downloaded as a complete document or by chapter, are divided into two sections: "Estimation Techniques" and "Applications and Economic Interpretation." Both contain papers presented at the conference. Also included are a list of the program participants with their affiliations and email addresses, a forward, and background notes. [EM]
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The Ernst and Young Center for Business Innovation [.pdf]
The Ernst and Young Center for Business Innovation "exist[s] to discover and develop innovations in strategy, people, process, and technology that deliver high value to business." Working in conjunction with researchers in businesses, academic environments, and research organizations, the Center strives to produce new and exciting practices that will be of great interest to "general business audiences." The Center's site focuses on promoting its activities, as well as offering some solid resources. The Center for Business Innovation's journal Perspectives on Business Innovation is available in full online; past issues have covered such topics as knowledge management, business performance measurement, and ecommerce. The Research section of the Website consists of four areas: Knowledge Management, Complexity and Business, Performance Measurement, and Electronic Commerce. Several of these sections include bibliographies of research publications, but only some of them are available to download for free. The Knowledge Management section features an extensive virtual library consisting of annotated studies and reports, which may be downloaded in .pdf format. The Ernst and Young Center for Business Innovation Website is somewhat difficult to navigate. If users are willing to dig around, however, there is valuable information to be found here. [EM]
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Interagency Financial Institution Web Site Privacy Survey Report [.pdf, 226K]
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has released this report which examines the Websites of 364 banks and thrifts in order to "provide an indication of the state of the industry with respect to data collection and on-line privacy disclosures." The study found that 48 percent of the banks offered some kind of online privacy disclosure, and that 96 percent of the largest banks and thrifts with online components provide a privacy policy or information practice statement. The survey was conducted in May and July of 1999. [EM]
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Beyond Grey Pinstripes
Sponsored by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Initiative for Social Innovation through Business (ISIB), the Beyond Grey Pinstripes report identifies MBA programs in the US that include environmental and social elements. The report comes in two forms. The online version targets an academic audience and looks at the ways in which each featured business school addresses social and environmental issues, while the print version, which must be ordered for a small cost, is aimed at the corporate community. The online report ranks the top business schools in terms of environmental and social stewardship, and nearly 50 business schools have written short descriptions of how their programs have integrated these two elements into their curriculums and activities. The WRI and ISIB plan to add and expand several sections in the future, including a faculty research database, a study of business schools worldwide, and a listing of courses that deal in environmental and social stewardship. [EM]
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Learning Resources

The Economic Literacy Project: Seeking a Blueprint for America
The Economic Literacy Project, from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, aims to educate Americans about their need to understand economics, basic knowledge that FRB Minneapolis believes many Americans lack. The site includes a great number of articles, audio clips, and resources that consider the lack of economic education in the United States and argue to increase economic literacy. Included are several economic literacy quizzes to test users's knowledge, all of the articles from a special issue of the The Region focusing on economic literacy, and the results of a national telephone survey conducted by FRB Minneapolis in which only 45 percent of the respondents answered all of the questions correctly. [EM]
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The Gay Financial Network
In his mission statement, Walter B. Schubert, CEO and president of the Gay Financial Network (GFN), explains the driving force behind GFN's creation: "To build the first all encompassing financial services Web site to empower the American gay and lesbian community..." The Gay Financial Network is a financial news portal that targets the gay community. The articles are divided into several "channels" including Gay Financial News, Financial Planning, Home and Office, and Women's Channel. Financial services include information on online trading, banking, mortgages, and annuities. GFN also provides professional tools such as a gay and gay-friendly professionals directory and articles and information for career networking. [EM]
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Touted as "The Best Resource for Investing," GeoInvest is a Internet portal that strives to connect users to reliable financial information. Focused on quality instead of quantity, GeoInvest uses the most comprehensive Websites and classifies and briefly annotates them. While GeoInvest is slightly sparse in content, it's an excellent starting place for financial news, research, and commentary. [EM]
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Equity Analytics
Equity Analytics, Ltd, an independent consulting firm, has created this useful directory. The annotated index includes information on government statistical releases, futures and commodities, financial planning, software downloads, and a discounted bookstore. Each directory entry links to rich articles and to valuable information for those looking for guidance in financial matters. [EM]
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FinanceWise: Latin America Special Reports
This subject-specific search engine from FinanceWise offers over 250 links to financial information about Latin America. The links can be searched by subject and by country. Also included are recommended books, news groups, currency rates, and special articles from Risk Magazine on risk in Latin American countries, taken from the July and November 1999 issues. [EM]
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General Interest

Accounting Students
From, Accounting Students contains news, resources, and information for accounting and finance students. Daily articles give advice and inspiration to finance students, and the site also provides sections on career advice, textbook supplements, and research resources. Other features include online surveys, Site of the Week reviews, and interactive forums. Interested users may sign up for a free e-newsletter. [EM]
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Available in both Vietnamese and English, Vinaone is focused on business and finance news in Vietnam. Along with daily Top Stories, this site also contains sections in business, finance, legal, and foreign trade news. The news briefs tend to be rather terse in nature. For those looking for business news in this part of the world, however, Vinaone is a good place to begin. Vinaone also offers an electronic newsletter. [EM]
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WebEntrepreneurs is a comprehensive Website dedicated to the success of Web-based businesses. After a free required online registration, users gain access to entrepreneurial news from a variety of online sources, business tools including step-by-step advice for starting a business, links to business resources, a membership directory, and online forums. Although most of the information on WebEntrepreneurs is geared towards those looking to start online businesses, it is a solid resource for entrepreneurship of any kind. [EM]
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Girls Fight for a Living
Girls Fight for a Living is an online component to an exhibit from the University of Louisville Special Collections. The exhibit profiles women in the forefront of several industries including some of the first women to earn wages in journalism, the arts, and the military. Along with photographs and accompanying descriptions and texts, Girls Fight for a Living also includes numerous links throughout the exhibit, leading to additional information and resources from a multitude of sources. [EM]
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An online community and gathering place for people who work from their homes, Business@Home offers news, resources, and information. Along with daily news briefs and articles, Business@Home also has several departments including Back Porch, which highlights stories of inspiration and support written from people with home businesses, an advice column, and suggestions and commentary from other at-home workers. Although there isn't a great deal of concrete information, this site gives those who work from their homes a space for reflection and advice. [EM]
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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 The Scout Report for Business & Economics Current Awareness Metapage:

Working Papers

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Atlanta Working Papers
Consumption and Asset Prices with Recursive Preferences: Continuous-Time Approximations to Discrete-Time Models
Consumption and Asset Prices with Homothetic Recursive Preferences
Why Didn't the United States Establish a Central Bank Until After the Panic of 1907?
FRB New York Staff Reports
What Inventory Behavior Tells Us about Business Cycles

FRB St. Louis Working Papers
The Contribution of On-site Examination Ratings to an Empirical Model of Bank Failures
The Fed's Influence on the Federal Funds Rate: Is It Open Market or Open Mouth Operations?

Other Institutions:
Bank of International Settlements Working Papers
Interbank interest rates and the risk premium
A note on alternative measures of real bond rates
Pass-through of exchange rates and import prices to domestic inflation in some industrialised economies
Banking and commerce: a liquidity approach
Perceived central bank intervention and market expectations: an empirical study of the yen/dollar exchange rate, 1993-96

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Working Papers
Has the Nature of Crises Changed? A Quarter Century of Currency Crises in Argentina
Bank Rating Changes and Bank Stock Returns - Puzzling Evidence from the Emerging Markets
Foreign Investment in Colombia's Financial Sector
Why Has Inflation in the United States Remained So Low? Reassessing the Importance of Labor Costs and the Price of Imports
Idiosyncratic Risk - An Empirical Analysis, with Implications for the Risk of Relative-Value Trading Strategies
Monitoring Banking Sector Fragility - A Multivariate Logit Approach
Sources of Contagion: Finance or Trade?
Trade and Industrialization in Developing Agricultural Economies
Can a Shorter Workweek Induce Higher Employment? Mandatory Reductions in the Workweek and Employment Subsidies
Corporate Leverage, Bankruptcy, and Output Adjustment in Post-Crisis East Asia

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Technical Papers
Climate Policy Without Tears: CGE-Based Ancillary Benefits Estimates for Chile
The Economics and Politics of Transition to an Open Market Economy: India

Wharton Financial Institutions Center Working Papers
Testing, Comparing, and Combining Value at Risk Measures

Stockholm School of Economics Institute for International Economic Studies Seminar Papers
Collusion-Proof Yardstick Competition
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB BOG) The Beige Book
The November 3, 1999 update for The Beige Book (described in the January 24, 1997 Scout Report) shows "strong economic growth [nation-wide], but some slowing is noted." Consumer spending continues to hold steady, and labor markets continue to be tight.

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Kansas City Regional Economic Digest
FRB New York Second District Highlights [.pdf]
FRB Philadelphia Survey of Professional Forecasters
FRB San Francisco Western Economic Developments [.pdf]
FRB St. Louis Monetary Trends [.pdf]
The third quarter 1999 issue of Regional Economic Digest includes the articles "State of Tenth District Manufacturing," "Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions," and "What's Hampering Job Growth in the District's Services Sector?" Second District Highlights considers indexes that measure economic activity in New Jersey, New York State, and New York City. According to 43 forecasters surveyed by FRB Philadelphia, the US economy will expand "at the annual rate of 3.7 percent in that last quarter of 1999," as reported in the fourth quarter 1999 Survey of Professional Forecasters. Western Economic Developments reports that computer-related economic gains should support other economic growth in the Twelfth District. The November 1999 issue of Monetary Trends from FRB St. Louis consists of the article "Meeting the Y2K Demand for Base Money." [EM]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include the November 19, 1999 speech by Dr. Willem F. Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank, on whether the European Central Bank believes that markets need guidance; a speech given by Ernst Welteke, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, at the Frankfurt European Banking Congress, on which areas of the markets need guidance; and a speech by Christian Noyer, Vice-President of the European Central Bank, given to the Spanish Association of Corporate Treasurers, on monetary policy-making in Europe. [EM]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) Russian Outlook
The Fall 1999 issue of Russian Outlook consists of the article "Is Russia Really 'Lost'?" by Leon Aron. The article details the ways in which Russia has dropped out of the world economic scene. [EM]
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Books and Journals

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

Conferences with Econometric Interest
The Royal Economics Society's Econometrics Journal site lists conferences in econometrics at this Econometric Links section. [EM]
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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

Census Bureau
"1997 Economic Census of Outlying Areas: Virgin Islands -- Construction Industries, Manufactures, Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Service Industries" [.pdf, 954K]
The Census Bureau reports that the retail trade sector of the US Virgin Islands has grown by 20 percent since 1992, with sales reaching $1.1 billion in 1997. In 1997, jewelry stores sold a total of $248.7 million and hotels and motels reported receipts of $123.8 million. [EM]
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International Trade Administration
Metropolitan Area Exports [.pdf]
Highlights of this report from the International Trade Administration showcase that in 1998, the export sales of 253 US Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), were down 0.9 percent, totalling $326.4 billion, from $541.0 billion in 1997. [EM]
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Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Regional and State Employment and Unemployment, October 1999
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the regional and state unemployment rates held steady, showing little or no change from September 1999 to October 1999. The West recorded the highest unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, while the Midwest continued to be the lowest in the country, at 3.4 percent. [EM]
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
1999 Agency Reports/ Schedule
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 this calendar site. Notable data for December 1999 include the World Horticultural Trade and US Export Opportunities.
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Energy Information Administration (EIA)
"Advance Summary U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves, 1998 Annual Report" [.pdf, 804K]
This 20-page report from the Energy Information Administration reports that crude oil reserves fell 7 percent in 1998, the largest decrease since 1945. Natural gas decreased by 2 percent, breaking a four-year string of annual increases. [EM]
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In The News

Battle in Seattle
1) "Crackdown after Seattle battle" -- BBC
2) "Protests Disrupt WTO Summit" -- NPR [RealPlayer]
3) Seattle Post-Intelligencer
4) "Latest News from Seattle" -- European Union
5) "Resist the World Trade Organization" -- Mid-Atlantic Infoshop
6) "Circus in Seattle" -- Mother Jones
7) World Trade Organization Official Website
8) World Trade Organization Third Ministerial Conference -- United States Information Agency
9) WTO: Understanding the Development Angle -- Eldis
10) "Everything You Need to Know about the WTO" -- Salon Magazine
11) "What is the WTO?" -- SF Gate
12) US International Information Programs
13) "America's Interest in the World Trade Organization: An Economic Assessment"
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Third Ministerial Conference commenced in Seattle, WA, on Tuesday, November 31 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. Inside the center, conference delegates, trade officials, and lobbyists, representing 135 countries, started a three-year series of negotiations about global trade-liberalization. Outside the center, close to 40,000 anti-trade protestors lined the city's streets. In an attempt to clear the streets of demonstrators who were blocking access to meeting venues, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell declared a state of emergency as police in riot gear fired rubber bullets, red pepper spray, and tear gas into the sea of protestors. Demonstrators believe global trade regulations proposed by the WTO will ultimately exploit workers in developing countries and will not take into account environmental issues. President Clinton was scheduled to address ministers on Wednesday, but instead he chose to survey the damage in the downtown area caused by a small faction of rioting protestors.

The BBC (1) offers up-to-date coverage of the WTO meeting and the protests, an archive of past articles, and sound bytes. NPR's site (2) features a first-eye account of the protests through reporter Wendy Kaufman, who has been covering the WTO Seattle conference. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer(3) covers the WTO conference and protests from Ground Zero. Europa, the official Website of the European Union, provides a European perspective on the conference (4). The Mid-Atlantic Infoshop, billed as "Your Guide to Anarchy on the Web," offers breaking news of the protests against the WTO (5). Mother Jones's coverage of the protests (6) looks at the different factions of protestors. The official Website of the WTO (7) gives news and information about the organization and links to the WTO Ministerial site. The United States Information Agency (8) provides a vast amount of information about the WTO and conference, including conference materials, trade topics, online resources, and background papers. Ten short background papers about the WTO agenda are available on Eldis (9), as well as links to information about the Seattle meeting. "Everything You Need to Know about the WTO," (10) from Salon Magazine, considers the history and goals of the WTO. For background on the WTO, SF Gate (11) has put together a collection of history, fast facts, feature articles, Websites, and opinions. US International Information Programs (12) provides this unique look at themes covered in the media of regions and countries participating in the conference. "America's Interest in the World Trade Organization" (13), a report from the Council of Economic Advisors, examines the United States's interest in free trade. [EM]
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