The Scout Report for Business & Economics - February 24, 2000

February 24, 2000

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


Asia Recovery Information Center (ARIC)
The Asia Recovery Information Center was first conceived at the Meeting on Development Cooperation: Responding to the Asia Crisis, in Sydney, Australia in March 1999. The ARIC Website has three objectives: to monitor the social and economic impacts, as well as the recovery process, of the Asian Crisis; to collect and disseminate information on the response of the international community to the Crisis; and to add to the dialogs about "policy reform in response to the crisis." Although it will be expanded to cover more countries, at present, ARIC covers the five main countries affected by the Crisis -- Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. ARIC's information is divided into seven sections. Recovery News is updated daily and contains news briefs and articles from around the world (both the source and the country of origin are noted). Hard data can be found in ARIC Indicators, which holds more than 40 social, economic, and financial indictors presented in both table and chart form. The Country Focus section allows users to search ARIC's information by topic and by country. The site also lists meetings and conferences, as well as offering an extensive collection of notable links. This resource is truly invaluable to users following the Asian Crisis. [EM]
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Global Compact -- United Nations
The Global Compact is a joint project of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The site outlines the nine principles drafted at the World Economic Forum on January 31, 1999 to serve as guidelines for world businesses. The principles address three basic areas of concern: human rights, labor standards, and environment. The Global Compact also provides means and methods for enacting these principles, including case studies and research from the ILO and the UNEP. The site's Country Information section is a searchable database of labor, human rights, and environmental information from Abkhyazia to Zimbabwe. The News and Reviews section contains current and archived news, as well as statements about the Global Compact from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Secretary General Amnesty International Pierre Sane among others. Here, users will also find an analytical overview of the research and debates over these topics. [EM]
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Pilot Environmental Sustainability Index [.pdf, 1430k]
Created by the Global Leaders for the Tomorrow Environment Task Force of the World Economic Forum, the Pilot Environmental Sustainability Index ranks countries "based on their success in facilitating economic growth without crossing environmental sustainability barriers." Three main conclusions are presented in this 41-page pilot report. The task force found that it was possible to create an index capable of generating meaningful results in the measurement of environmental sustainability. These results can be used together with economic indexes to understand which economic and environmental issues are in conflict with each other. And finally, while the pilot project has been successful, there is much work to be done in order to refine the index in the future. The report also details how the index was constructed, as well as analyzing some of the primary data. [EM]
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FY 2001 Federal Budget Publications [.pdf]
The Office of Management and Budget has created this searchable database of FY 2001 budget publications, including Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2001,Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2001,A Citizen's Guide to the Federal Budget, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2001, and The Economic Report of the President among others. The site provides searching tips, as well as pithy descriptions of the publications. All listed publications may be downloaded directly from the site in .pdf format. [EM]
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"Changes in the Older Population and Implications for Rural Areas" -- Economic Research Service [.pdf]
According to this new report from the Economic Research Service, the oldest segment of the US population, those 85 years old and older, grew 37 percent between 1980 and 1990. The "oldest old are more likely to be women, to be in poor health, to live alone, and to be poor." Changes in the Older Population and Implications for Rural Areas considers this change in the population and the effects of being elderly and poor in the rural parts of the United States. The report concludes that the US needs to be aware of this shift in population and allocate funds in order to cover the costs of Social Security, health care, and other services for the elderly. [EM]
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Learning Resources

How to research companies on the Internet
Joshua Blackman, editor of The Internet Lawyer newsletter, here reprints a guide from his new book The Internet Fact Finder for Lawyers. This index lists online resources that are useful in researching companies on the World Wide Web. Most of the Websites listed are thoughtfully annotated and are arranged into subjects including Phone Books, Public Company Starting Points, Annual Reports, and SEC Filings. This site should well serve those who are looking for the best places on the Internet to find more information on companies. [EM]
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Eurolandia, an "interactive journey to discover the euro," is a lively guide that teaches a basic understanding of the European Monetary Union (EMU) as well as delivering up-to-date news and resources about the euro and the EMU. Use the menus at the top and bottom of the screen to navigate through Eurolandia's vast collection of resources including News, Euro and Us, Games, and Staff Room, which includes courses and an event calendar. Eurolandia is an excellent resource for students who want a better understanding of the history and impact of the European Monetary Union. The site is also available in Italian. [EM]
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International Baccalaureate Programme
biz/ed, a UK-based Website devoted to economics and business materials for the academic community (reviewed in the September 20, 1996 Scout Report), has created this resource guide for international schools. The resources are divided into five sections: Resources and Markets, Business Economics, Macroeconomic Arguments, International Issues, and Development Economics. Each section includes a table of resources that can be found within biz/ed and another of links to other helpful Websites. [EM]
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Understanding Dairy Markets [.pdf, Excel]
A joint project of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Understanding Dairy Markets offers an in-depth guide to using dairy futures and options for price risk management. An extensive futures and options tutorial includes step-by-step instructions to understanding these two concepts, as well as definitions, explanations, a bibliography, and study questions. The Market Data section links to a variety of dairy market data including dairy consumption and productions, futures, stocks, and options; data is available in Excel and ascii formats. The site also contains daily dairy market news headlines, links, publications, and a frequently updated New Additions section. [EM]
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Created by MBA students for MBA students, mba101 is a full-service portal designed to help Masters of Business Administration students get an edge on the competition by offering current and breaking information on the business world. Three main sections, Research, Business, and Fun, are all accessible from the main page. The site showcases a full spectrum of MBA culture from hard hitting research to fun IQ tests. mba101 also compiles a large collection of business-related news sources and information about and rankings of business schools. Note: The site is optimized for Internet Explorer, and other browsers may have display problems. [EM]
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The Motley Fool's NOW 50 Index Quotes/Data
Launched on January 3, the Motley Fool's NOW 50 Index is intended to serve as a more relevant and realistic market index for the 21st century. The 50 companies included were selected from 288 nominated to the trustees, and they stand, according to the Motley Fool, "in the vanguard of the trends that will define commerce in the next decades." Users can read about the creation of the NOW 50 Index, a description of the methodology used to construct the Index, and details on all 50 companies. The NOW 50 Index daily numbers are listed on the right hand side of the page, but users can access more detailed information at the main Quotes/Data page in the Indices section. [MD]
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General Interest

Trillion Dollar Bet -- NOVA
This Website accompanies the "Trillion Dollar Bet" episode of the popular PBS television series NOVA which aired on February 8, 2000. "Trillion Dollar Bet" explored the 1973 discovery of the Black-Scholes Formula, which allows one to determine the value of a call option at any given time. The formula "revolutionized modern finance...[and] led to the creation of a multi-trillion dollar industry." The creators of the formula, Myron Scholes, Robert Merton, and Fischer Black, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997. The Website offers a pithy explanation of this complex formula, analysis of the world of online trading, and a "Traders' Lexicon." A resources section of nicely annotated links and a short recommended bibliography round out the site. [EM]
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Breakeven Calculator
Professor Jose Antonio Rosa of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign introduces his Breakeven Calculator. Breakeven analysis, Professor Rosa explains, is "a means to calculate the volume of sales at which variable and fixed costs are recovered -- the point at which a product starts producing profits." Users enter variable unit cost, fixed cost, expected unit sales, and price per unit into the appropriate fields, and the calculator figures out general calculations and generates a full report. A helpful glossary is provided as is easy-to-understand analysis. [EM]
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What's Next Online
What's Next Online is a free online newsletter which focuses on business marketing tips and discussion. Written and edited by B.L. Ochman, each issue contains several short articles about current issues in marketing as well as a list of annotated, notable links. Past issues are archived, and interested users may subscribe to the email version of the newsletter. [EM]
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Superstar Investor
Superstar Investor is a straightforward, yet comprehensive, collection of over 11,000 investment-related links. Organized into several dozen catagories, including Day Trading, Picks & Trends, Stock Options, and International Indexes, as well as Top Market Commentary, Top Quote and Chart Sites, and Top Stock Pick Sites, Superstar Investor is a trustworthy resource for finding information about today's market. [EM]
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Workforce Online
Workforce Online is a Webzine that focuses on human resource issues and concepts. The site includes weekly articles, daily tips, and advice, as well as networking opportunities, polls, and case studies. Free registration is required to use the research section, which features a database of HR-related materials, searchable by keyword and topic. The site also includes solid information on legal issues and analysis, basic HR information in the HR 101 section, and a community center of networks and forums on assorted topics. Interested parties may subscribe to a free e-newsletter with site updates and more. [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 Board of Governors Finance and Economics Discussion Series [.pdf]
Credit Constraints, Consumer Leasing and the Automobile Replacement Decision
Efficient Monetary Policy Design Near Price Stability
Temporary Employment and the Natural Rate of Unemployment
Are Oil Shocks Inflationary? Asymmetric and Nonlinear Specifications versus Changes in Regime
The Automatic Stabilizers: Quietly Doing their Thing

Federal Reserve System:
FRB St. Louis Working Papers [.pdf]
Banks VS. Credit Unions; Dynamic Competition in Local Markets
Inflation Shocks and Financial Distress: An Historical Analysis
The Expectations Theory and the Founding of the Fed: Another Look at the Evidence
The Bias in the Conventional Test of the Expectations Theory: Resolving the Anomalies at the Very Short End of the Term Structure

Other Institutions:
National Bureau of Economic Research Working Papers [.pdf]
The Growth Costs of Malaria
Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They are and How to Acquire Them
Have Falling Tariffs and Transportation Costs Raised U.S. Wage Inequality?
Heart of Darkness: Modeling Public-Private Funding Interactions Inside the R&D Black Box
Medical Liability, Managed Care, and Defensive Medicine
Strategic Trade Policy with Endogenous Choice of Quality and Asymmetric Costs
Cigarettes and Alcohol: Substitutes or Complements?
Resuscitating Real Business Cycles
How Liability Law Affects Medical Productivity

Bank of International Settlements Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Working Papers [.pdf]
Banks' Interactions with Highly Leveraged Institutions: Implementation of the Basel Committee's Sound Practices Paper
Industry Views on Credit Risk Mitigation

International Monetary Fund Staff Country Reports [.pdf]
Dominica: Staff Report for the 1999 Article IV Consultation
Norway: Staff Report for the 1999 Article IV Consultation
Guinea: Statistical Appendix
Colombia: Statistical Appendix
Republic of Korea: Economic and Policy Developments
Republic of Korea: Statistical Appendix
Guatemala: Statistical Annex

Wharton Financial Institutions Center [.pdf]
Consumer Response to Changes in Credit Supply: Evidence from Credit Card Data

Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance [.pdf]
A Flexible Coefficient Smooth Transition Time Series Model
Moments and the Autocorrelation Structure of the Exponential GARCH(p,q) Process
Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem?
Is There a Hold-up Problem?
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors Federal Reserve Bulletin [.pdf]
The February 2000 Federal Reserve Bulletin contains the article "US Bank Exposure to Emerging-Market Countries during Recent Financial Crises," which focuses on "the claims U.S. banks held on emerging-market counterparties during the two-year period from June 1997 to June 1999 and discusses the different ways that emerging-market claims can be analyzed." [EM]

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Boston Regional Review
The fourth quarterly installment of FRB Boston's Regional Review includes articles on the rebuilding of Randolph, VT, the job markets in metropolitan cities, and new developments in banking technology. [EM]

FRB Chicago Economic Perspectives [.pdf]
"The Price of Bank Mergers in the 1900s," "Dollarization in Argentina," and "Black/White Differences in Wealth" are all articles that can be found in the first quarter 2000 issue of Economic Perspectives.[EM]

FRB Cleveland Economic Trends
The February 2000 issue of Economic Trends contains information on monetary policy, labor markets, and real estate loans in the Fourth District. [EM]

FRB Dallas Houston Business [.pdf]
Houston Business considers the oil industry's impact on Houston's economy in a twelve-page article. [EM]

FRB Richmond Regional Focus [.pdf]
The current issue of Regional Focus contains the cover story "Journey to Infinity: Fifth District Technology Experience," which looks at the development of technology in the Fifth District, with special emphasis on Virginia and the Carolinas. [EM]

FRB St. Louis International Economic Trends [.pdf]
FRB St. Louis's International Economic Trends February 2000 edition examines the world economic situation, with emphasis on Canada, France, Germany, and Japan, among other countries. [EM]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include the February 9, 2000 remarks of Dr. Donald T. Brash, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, on inflation in New Zealand from 1988 to 2000; the speech given by the Deputy of the Sveriges Riksbank, Villy Berstrom, to the Upplands Vasby kommun, on February 10, 2000; and Deputy Governor of Norges Bank, Jarle Bergo's address to the Economists' Association about the Central Bank of Norway, given on January 27, 2000. [EM]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) Russian Outlook
The Winter 2000 edition of the AEI's Russian Outlook examines the December 19, 2000 Russian elections. [EM]
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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. [EM]

Econbase -- Elsevier
The abstracts, tables of contents, and in some cases, full-text for over 60 journals are now available online, including the following: Economics Letters (Vol 66, No 3), The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance (Vol 39, No 4), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (Vol 41, No 4), Review of Financial Economics (Vol 8, No 1), International Review of Economics and Finance (Vol 9, No 1), Japan and the World Economy (Vol 11, No 4), International Journal of Forecasting (Vol 15, No 4). [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]

50th International Atlantic Economic Conference
Charleston, South Carolina
October 15-18, 2000

2001 North American Winter Meeting of the Econometric Society
New Orleans, Louisiana
January 5-7, 2001
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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

Charge-Off and Delinquency Rates on Loans at Commercial Banks -- Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB BOG)
Compiled from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income, a quarterly publication, this data release lists the charge-off and delinquency rates of all commercial banks, as well as the 100 largest commercial banks in the US. The rates are shown both "Seasonally Adjusted" and "Not Seasonally Adjusted." [EM]
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US International Trade in Goods and Services -- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
In December 1999, total exports were reported at $85.3 billion, $2.7 billion more than November 1999. Imports totaled $110.7 billion, up from $109.6 billion in the previous month. [EM]
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Consumer Price Index -- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The Consumer Price Index for January 2000 increased 2.7 percent in the past twelve-month period. It rose 0.2 percent from December 1999 to the next month, reaching a level of 168.7. [EM]
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
2000 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 October 2000 include the Farm Numbers and Land in Farms report as well as the Outlook for US Ag Trade. [EM]
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Electric Power Monthly -- Energy Information Administration (EIA) [.pdf, 1055K]
This monthly publication from the EIA reports that total US net generation of electricity in October 1999 was at 224 billion kilowatthours, 3 percent below the level of generation in October 1998. Sales of electricity in October 1999 were also lower, down 1 percent from the previous year. [EM]
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In The News

Oil Prices Explode
1) "Legislators Try to Deflate Gas Prices" -- SF Gate
2) "Drivers fight pumped-up gas prices" -- Washington Times
3) Price Hike -- Online NewsHour
4) "Pain at the Pump: Gas Prices Have Been Higher, but That's Small Comfort" -- Washington Post
5) Petroleum -- Energy Information Administration
6) Oil and Gas Commodities Prices
7) OPEC Online
To the chagrin of sport utility vehicle owners, US gasoline prices continue to rise. OPEC and non-OPEC affiliated oil producing companies have tightened the supply of oil, thus driving up the demand and the prices. In early February, oil prices reached a nine-year high, surpassing the $30 per barrel mark for the first time since 1991. Consumer gasoline prices have leaped over 50 percent, averaging nearly $1.50 per gallon, nationwide. The prices have forced cab drivers to add surcharges to their fees, and airlines, experiencing price hikes in jet fuel, have unsuccessfully tried to raise round-trip ticket prices. On Tuesday, February 22, 2000, over 200 truck drivers protested the price of diesel fuel on the Mall in Washington, DC. The following seven news briefs, articles, and Websites offer background information, commentary, and news on this topic.

Articles from the San Francisco Chronicle(1) and the Washington Times(2) focus on the effects of the rising gasoline prices on consumers in San Francisco and Washington, DC, respectively. Online NewsHour (3) provides three expert opinions on the rising gas prices. The Washington Post(4) reports on the ways in which car owners and airlines are coping with the rise in the price of fuel. The Energy Information Administration (5) offers comprehensive data and analysis of petroleum and petroleum prices in the US. Oil and Gas Commodities Prices (6), sponsored by New Mexico Tech, contains an up-to-date listing of oil and gas commodity prices, displayed in an easy-to-understand table. The official site of The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC Online (7), contains general information about its member countries and OPEC's activities. [EM]
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