The Scout Report for Business & Economics - June 15, 2000

June 15, 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


HIV/AIDS: A threat to work, productivity, and development -- ILO [.pdf, 630K]
This recently released report from the International Labour Organisation was created as a document for discussion at the Special High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work. An estimated 33 million people were living with HIV in 1999; two-thirds of these people were living in sub-Saharan Africa, and 5 million were infected with the virus in 1999. This study considers the ways in which HIV/AIDS has affected the global working world. Those infected with HIV/AIDS often have their rights to "non-discrimination, equal protection and equality before the law, to privacy, liberty of movement, work, equal access to education, housing, health care, social security, assistance and welfare [violated] on the sole basis of their known or presumed HIV/AIDS status." AIDS/HIV also affects economic development; in 2015, the work force population will be between 10 to 22 percent lower than it would be without HIV/AIDS. For some industries, such as food production and food security, this drop in the employment field will have crucial implications. This 54-page report is divided into three main sections. The first details the overarching issues of the epidemic, briefly touching on regional features, risk and vulnerability, and human rights implications. The second part considers the economic and social impact of HIV/AIDS, with emphasis on the work force, employees, and organizations. Finally the third major section examines the response to the epidemic by governments, international organizations, and employers. The report also contains a chapter on the ILO's response to HIV/AIDS. [EM]
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Digital Economy 2000: The Third Annual Report of the Electronic Commerce Working Group [.pdf]
Department of Commerce Press Release
United States Government Electronic Commerce Policy
On June 5, the Commerce Department announced the release of the third annual report on "the information-technology revolution and its impact on the economy" (for the previous report see the January 13, 2000 Scout Report for Business & Economics). It reveals, among other things, that IT (Information Technology) accounts for half or more of the improvement in productivity growth since 1995, that IT is lowering inflation, and that, between 1994 and 1998, employment in IT industries expanded by 30 percent, from 4.0 million to 5.2 million jobs. In addition, these jobs "average $58,000 a year, 85 percent higher than the average for the private sector." Users can download the full text of the 71-page report in .pdf format from the Electronic Commerce Policy site. [MD]
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Digital Scotland Task Force Report [.pdf 114K]
The Digital Scotland Task Force Report considers the past effects and future plans of digital technologies in Scotland. The report focuses on development in business, education, and public services, as well as the role of digital technologies in fostering community. Its excellent Introduction and Background sections consider the complexities of promoting the growth of information technologies in Scotland's rural population, and report on the ways these technologies are applied in the United Kingdom, other countries in Europe, as well as several countries in Asia and North America. The Introduction also contains footnotes that link to related documents and Websites on digital technologies. The Getting There section examines the actions in the report's forementioned focus areas, and Foundations sets out groundwork for achieving a "digital Scotland." Digital Scotland Task Force Report is an interesting contrast to the recently released Digital Economy 2000 report, which is also reviewed in this issue of the Scout Report for Business and Economics.[EM]
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Commodity Market Review, 1999-2000 -- FOA [.pdf 957K]
The Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations recently released the Commodity Market Review, 1999-2000. This 108-page report "highlights and analyses world market developments affecting agricultural, fishery and forestry products in general and provides specific reviews for all principal primary agricultural commodities," with special emphasis on events that affect the developing countries's trading. The report also displays tables of the January 2000 data for a wide collection of commodities. The study of this year's data shows continued, widespread decline in commodity prices, which also contributed to lower agricultural export earnings in 1998 as well as 1999. Following a brief introduction to the report, this site presents the review's table of contents, and links to an executive summary, as well as the full report. The Commodity Market Reviews for 1997 through 1999 are also available for download. [EM]
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National Statistics: the Official United Kingdom Statistics Site
This newly revised and revamped Website results from changes mandated last fall by the British government to improve the quality, uniformity, and accessibility of United Kingdom government statistics. The Website's main feature organizes the vast body of government statistics around thirteen themes, such as crime and justice, education, the economy, health and care, population and migration, and so forth. Other features of the site include the latest headline information on data upon release; a section proffering a cross section of daily living-type data, StatBase (see the October 20, 1998 Scout Report for the Social Sciences); and DataBank, a subscriber service for economic data. Also provided here are direct links to birth, marriage, and death data; the UK census 2001; a "learning zone" for educational materials; and free, downloadable editions of Horizons, the National Statistics quarterly newsletter.
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Sectoral and Trade Barriers Database
A free service of the European Commission, the Sectoral and Trade Barriers offers reports on more than 50 countries worldwide, in 26 sectors, and 13 different divisions of measures. A detailed Help guide is also included, which provides term definitions and search tips for the database. After selecting one or more sectors, measures, and countries in a series of pull-down menus, the database creates a trade policies report. While this database is basically user-friendly, users may have to click through up to four screens in order to receive their reports. [EM]
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"Reforming Welfare and Rewarding Work: A Final Report on the Minnesota Family Investment Program" [.pdf]
Press Release:
Summary Report: Findings in Brief
Full Report [.pdf, 58 pages]:
Cited last week in a printed statement on welfare reform from President Clinton, this new report offers a comprehensive assessment of Minnesota's welfare reform program. The report was produced by The Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), a "nonprofit, nonpartisan social policy research organization." MDRC found that Minnesota's reform program brought substantial, far-ranging improvements to the lives of single parents who were long-term welfare recipients, including increases in employment, reduction in poverty, decreased levels of domestic abuse, and improvements in children's behavior and school performance. Unlike many welfare reform programs, Minnesota's is premised upon a commitment to support people while they work. This welfare-plus-work dimension was emphasized by the MDRC as crucial to the reform's successes. [DC]
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Learning Resources

Launched in 1998, Latin-Focus "enables executives and research analysts alike to find the latest available data from government sources, economic forecasts, market analysis covering economic performance, political risk assessments and financial market developments" in Latin American countries. The front page of the site offers current data as well as daily news and commentary. In the News and Commentary section, the title and source of the article are given, along with the subject country and language. Past articles are archived by date, although the site does note that news briefs may have expired. News may also be searched by country. Along the left side of the screen, eight countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, are highlighted. Clicking on one of these countries will bring up a menu consisting of Economic Indicators, Economic Forecasts, Release Calendar, Economic Briefing, Fact Sheet, and Web Directory. Each of these topics links to further subtopics or a variety of short online reports and graphs. This well-designed site offers clear, basic information for those studying economic issues in Latin America. [EM]
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Lex Mercatoria
Created in 1993 by the University of Tromso, Norway Law Department, Lex Mercatoria was the first Website to focus on a specific legal subject -- international trade and commercial law. The resources found on this site are organized by subjects including Free Trade, Agency, Economic Union, E-Commerce, and Payments. Each section includes an important collection of materials including treaties, model laws, and links to free trade, business, and economics sites. Document types are noted with small icons next to the title; the key to these icons is found in Lex Mercatoria's extensive Help manual. While Lex Mercatoria strives to provide accurate material, it does include the following disclaimer: "Use or rely upon these materials at your own risk." [EM]
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Consortium for Research on Employee Benefits [.pdf]
The Consortium for Research on Employee Benefits is a database of "submitted research from academics and other employee benefit researchers, research supported through IFEBP's [International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans] Grants for Research Program, synopses of research published in select employee benefits journals and links to other nonprofit or governmental employee benefits research." In order to use the database, users must first click on the Search icon at the top of the screen, which takes them to a search screen. The database is searchable by Subject/Category and by key terms using a controlled vocabulary list displayed in easy-to-use pull down menus. The results give a detailed abstract, as well as linking to the documents, available mainly in .pdf and .html formats. [EM]
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Edited by Jerry O. Peters, CPA, ASA, ABV, CBA, is a clearinghouse for business valuation resources. The information on this site is indexed into eight sections, including publications, industry resources, economic data, public companies, and transaction data. The links are all tersely annotated and organized by subject within each of the sections. will be a welcome bookmark for CPAs, business appraisers, and those interested in learning more about business valuation. [EM]
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General Interest

Privacy International
Privacy International is a ten-year-old, London and Washington DC-based organization which serves as a watchdog on privacy issues ranging from " wiretapping and national security activities, to ID cards, video surveillance, data matching, police information systems, and medical privacy." Highlighted on the site is privacy-related news from around the world, with links to documents and Websites mentioned. The site also contains links to recent official documents and studies pertaining to privacy, a large resource library with archived country reports, international privacy documents, and Privacy International reports, manuals, and guides. Privacy International's interests and actions are represented in the Activities section. The Privacy International Website gives excellent background and information on the organization as well as the issues surrounding global privacy. [EM]
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Press Release Writing
As expected, Press Release Writing, from Accurate Online Solutions, offers a helpful tutorial on the art of press release writing. The advice is broken into several easily digestible sections, covering the main themes of the advertising vs. public relations debate, essentials of writing press releases, templates, formats, and samples. The site also offers comprehensive distribution lists for all media formats including electronic media, magazines, newspapers, wire services, and television stations. Interested users will want to subscribe to the free Press Release Writing enewsletter. [EM]
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Created and maintained by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by a variety of high-powered ebusinesses, including Cisco Systems, Dell Computers, Intel, and Oracle, ebusiness forum "provides insight and analysis to help senior executives build successful strategies for the global digital economy." After a quick, free registration, users have access to the wide spectrum of ebusiness-related news and information on this site. The "Today's New Analysis" feature contains electronic business news from around the world from information sources including European Voice,The Journal of Commerce, and Financial Times. The site offers resources on leadership and practice, as well as a variety of informative sources on doing ebusiness in countries around the world. [EM]
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Beyond the Bull [RealPlayer]
Beyond the Bull is a financial Website dedicated to the practice of Momentum trading, a form of trading in which the guiding principle "if money is flowing into stocks, more money will follow because no one wants to be left out" is practiced. At different times each day, the site posts four market reports: Pre-Market Report, Morning Call, Mid-Day Commentary, and Market Wrap-up. Also showcased on this site is the Beyond the Bull online radio show from ON24, with host and Beyond the Bull columnist Malcolm Berko. The site links to other commercial trading and financial sites, including Whisper Numbers, Bloomberg, and CBS Market Watch. [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 (FRB BOG) Finance and Economics Discussion Series [.pdf]
A Real Options Approach to Housing Investment
Corporate Share Repurchases in the 1990s: What Role Do Stock Options Play?
Robust Monetary Policy with Misspecified Models: Does Model Uncertainty Always Call for Attenuated Policy?
Has Compensation Become More Flexible?
Household Portfolios in the United States
Improving Grid-Based Methods for Estimating Value at Risk of Fixed-Income Portfolios
Microeconomic Inventory Adjustment: Evidence From U.S. Firm-Level Data

Federal Reserve System: [.pdf]
FRB Cleveland Economic Working Papers
Home Production Meets Time-to-build
Protectionist Demands in Globalization

FRB New York Staff Reports
Uncertainty and Labor Contract Durations

FRB St. Louis Working Papers
What Happens When the Technology Growth Trend Changes?: Transition Dynamics and Growth Accounting
The Nominal Facts and The October 1979 Policy Change
Private and Public Circulating Liabilities
Identification of Dynamic Economic Models from Reduced Form VECM Structures: An Application of Covariance Restrictions

Other Institutions:
International Monetary Fund Working Papers [.pdf]
Stock Returns and Output Growth in Emerging and Advanced Economies

Wharton Financial Institutions Center [.pdf]
The Determinants Of Success In the New Financial Services Environment: Now That Firms Can Do Everything, What Should They Do And Why Should Regulators Care?
Opening the Box: Information Technology, Work Practices, and Wages
It's Not Just the ATMs: Technology, Firm Strategies, Jobs, and Earnings in Retail Banking
What Makes a High-Performance Workplace? Evidence from Retail Bank Branches

Institute for International Economics Working Papers [.pdf]
How the Sick Man Avoided Pneumonia: The Philippines in the Asian Financial Crisis
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB BOG)
Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices
May 2000
The May 2000 issue of Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices, from the FRB BOG, considers "changes in the supply of, and demand for, bank loans to businesses and households over the past three months," with questions about lending to businesses, lending to households, and loans to purchase and carry securities. [EM]

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Boston
Bank Notes
June 1, 2000
The June 1, 2000 issue of Bank Notes reports on several New England bank mergers and acquisitions. [EM]

FRB Chicago [.pdf]
May 2000
FRB Chicago's AgLetter contains two articles: "Farmland Values and Credit Conditions" and "Selected Agricultural Economic Indicators." [EM]

FRB St. Louis [.pdf]
National Economic Trends
June 2000
The June 2000 issue of National Economic Trends contains 27 pages of current US economic data and analysis, including information on interest rates, consumer spending, and international trade. [EM]

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OECD Observer
April 2000
The April 2000 issue of OECD Observer, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, spotlights the issue of corruption, with seven articles on this topic. [EM]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include several press releases about the BIS Annual General Meeting including the conclusion of the 2000 BIS Annual Report. [EM]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
Latin American Outlook
June 2000
"Venezuela's May Surprise," the only article in the June 2000 Latin American Outlook, considers recent politics in Venezuela, especially the last minute postponement of the May 28, 2000 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: Information Economics and Policy (Vol 12, No 2), Journal of International Economics (Vol 50, No 2), Journal of Asian Economics (Vol 10, No 4), Review of Radical Political Economics (Vol 31, No 4), Accounting, Organizations and Society (Vol 25, No 6), Food Policy (Vol 25, No 2), and China Economic Review (Vol 10, No 2). [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]

Conflict Potentials in Monetary Unions
Kassel, Germany
April 25-28, 2001

San Antonio, TX
November 5-8, 2000
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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

1999 Financial Report -- Census Bureau
On June 7, 2000, the Census Bureau released this 50-page document. In 1999, the Census Bureau was mainly involved with the preparation of the Census 2000. However, it published the results from the 1997 Economic Survey and the Survey of Governments. [EM]
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Employment Situation -- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
According to May 2000 Employment Situation, the total nonfarm payroll employment increased last month by 231,000, in part, due to the hiring of 375,000 temporary employees for the Census 2000. The unemployment rate, however, which has remained under 4.2 percent since October 1999, rose to 4.1 percent. [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 June 2000 include reports on turkey hatcheries and potato stocks. [EM]
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State Electricity Profiles -- Energy Information Administration (EIA)
An update to the 1996 State Electricity Profiles, this report is "designed to provide basic information about the electricity industry on a State-by-State basis by profiling each State and the District of Columbia with a description of its electricity industry through graphics, and tables." The data for ten states has been changed, with future updates due in the coming weeks. [EM]
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In The News

Mobsters Against the Wall
1) "Brokers Charged With Crime Figures in Complex Fraud" -- New York Times (free registration required)
2) "120 Charged in Probe of Mob on Wall St."
3) "Special Report: Biggest Stock Fraud Crackdown in US History" -- ZDTV,3666,2587793,00.html
4) "Securities fraud arrests" -- CNNfn
5) "Made for Each Other: The Mob and the Internet" -- Time Daily,2960,47420-101000614,00.html
6) SEC Law Enforcement Division
7) Gang Land
In what federal prosecutors are calling the second largest securities fraud crackdown in US history, charges were brought against 120 people, including members of all five New York City organized crime families. Among the other defendants are two officers of the Ranch+1 restaurant chain, 57 licensed and unlicensed stock brokers, 30 officers and company insiders of the companies issuing the fraudulent securities. The New York City-based DMN Capitol Investments, an investment firm that purported to offer investment banking services to new, developing businesses, is the main focus of the investigation. Prosecutors allege that the investment firm defrauded investors by several methods including bribing stock brokers, creating fake stock trades, and running high pressure sales operations. DMN was also charged with using scare tactics including beating and threatening stock promoters in order to make sure that they would accept bribes in exchange for cooperating with the fraudulent practices. Allegedly, the Internet was also used to promote these fraudulent stocks on the Web, and some of the fake stocks were also touted as dot-com stocks in order to further their appeal. However, Assistant FBI Director Barry Mawn explained: "No matter what market the mob tries to infiltrate, from the fish market to the stock market, their methods are always the same: violence and the threat of violence."

The New York Times(1) provides an in-depth look at the ways in which these alleged securities frauds operated. A lengthy article from the Washington Post(2) gives a detailed account of Wednesday's events, as well as prior history of the securities fraud. ZDTV's special report on Wednesday's arrests (3) focuses on the role of the Internet in the crimes, as well as the allure of penny stocks. This short news brief from CNNfn (4) gives basic information about the arrests. Time Daily's editorial (5) on the crackdown considers the difficulty of controlling crime that takes place on the Internet. The official Website for the SEC Law Enforcement Division (6) contains an overview of the Division's activities, as well as news and information about recent litigations. Gangland News (7), the brainchild of journalist and organized crime expert Jerry Capeci, offers news, history, and information on the leading mob families. [EM]
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