The Scout Report for Business & Economics - June 29, 2000

June 29, 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


Consultive Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP) [.pdf]
Consultive Group to Assist the Poorest was founded in 1995 as a microfinance tool geared towards helping poor people. CGAP works with microfinance institutions, donors, and the microfinance industry by "providing technical assistance and strategic advice, by developing and disseminating technical guides and services, by delivering training, and by performing field research on innovations." Showcased on the site is the Microfinance Gateway. A joint project of Eldis and the CGAP, the Gateway is a full-text library of over 2,000 microfinance documents. The library is browseable by key topic, each of which offers articles as well as discussion groups and forums. The library's collection is also searchable by key topic, author/organization, country, and region. The Industry Services section of the Gateway contains a helpful collection of resources including conferences, links, employment, online forums and newsletters, and bulletin boards. In addition to the library, the CGAP Website hosts several publications, including the Focus Notes series, offering short four-page synopses of issues in microfinance, as well as collections of working and occasional papers, and a collection of technical guides which serve as manuals "tailored to address gaps in microfinance technical knowledge." [EM]
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Discovery and Innovation: Federal Research and Development Activities in the Fifty States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico -- RAND [.pdf]
RAND, a nonprofit organization devoted to the research and analysis of policy making and decision making, released this report on June 15, 2000. Discovery and Innovation "provides the most comprehensive and detailed information to date on the nature, magnitude and whereabouts of the individual activities that make up the federal government's R&D [research and development] portfolio." The study considers federal research and development by examining it on a state-by-state basis. A main finding was that federal research and development spending was regionally concentrated, with 80 percent of the funding spent in only fifteen states; California, alone, receives $14.4 billion. The full text of the study is available for download in .pdf format. However, each of the 52 chapters must be downloaded individually. [EM]
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General Data Dissemination System -- International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund has created the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), a system of metadata collection intended to "guide countries in the provision to the public of comprehensive, timely, accessible, and reliable economic, financial, and socio-demographic data." This site offers information from and about the countries participating in the GDDS. The project's main goals include improving the creation of country information, as well as creating a standard for the dissemination of reliable, current, thorough, and accessible economic, socio-demographic, and financial information. The data on participating countries, which include Fiji, Albania, Uganda, and Kuwait, may be accessed through a menu system, by country and by topic. The site also contains a helpful guide to the General Data Dissemination System, as well as a What's New? section and a soon-to-be-added FAQ. [EM]
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Consumer Action Handbook, 2001 edition -- Federal Consumer Information Center
The Consumer Action Handbook is a 148-page manual for consumers containing valuable advice and information on a variety of subjects. Though brimming with useful information, this site can be somewhat confusing to navigate. Along with the main text of the Consumer Action Handbook itself, this site also offers easy, direct access to two of the Handbook's main resources: a collection of thoughtful tips and advice, and the Consumer Assistance Directory. In order to access the text of the Handbook, use the "html" or ".pdf" format links which lead to the table of contents in either of these formats. Users may also go directly to the tips section, using the menu across the top of the screen, which gives tips in sections such as cars, health, and travel. The Consumer Assistance Directory includes "thousands of names, addresses, telephone numbers, web site and e-mail addresses for national consumer organizations, better business bureaus, corporations, trade associations, state and local consumer protection offices, state agencies, military consumer offices, and Federal agencies." Free paper copies of the Consumer Action Handbook may also be ordered from the site. [EM]
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Engendering Development -- World Bank [.pdf]
Published online in late May, this report from the World Bank is subtitled "Enhancing Development through Attention to Gender." Beginning with the oft-supported premise that "income growth and economic development promote gender equality in the long run," the report argues for a three-part global strategy for promoting gender equality: 1. a reform of economic and judicial institutions, 2. the implementation of policies that promote sustained economic growth and development, and 3. the promotion of active measures to give women a greater command of resources and a stronger political voice. Of course, the devil is in the details, and those who wish to confront him may examine the policy report's specific arguments and recommendations in .pdf format linked to from the table of contents page given above. [DC]
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OFDA Reports Index
Recently announced by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), this site offers fast and easy access to recent fact sheets and updates from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). These are accessed via pull-down menus organized by country and emergency. For example, there are separate entries for floods and Cyclone Hudah for Southern Africa. The bulletins are presented in HTML format. The most recent reports and other related publications and resources are listed in a column on the left-hand side of the browser window. Users seeking information on past disasters can locate reports via the Archive link at the bottom of the page. [MD]
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Learning Resources

Links to Patent and Other Intellectual Property Information Resources
Created and maintained by the Patents Information service of the British Library Science Technology and Business, this site serves as a gateway to British and European patent resources. Many of the links lead to wonderful patent databases, which are organized into database types including key patent databases, single-authority patent databases, subject-based databases, and design databases. Resources also include a directory of patent agents and attorneys through Europe, as well as parts of North America and Malaysia; online journals; and regional and international patent and intellectual property legislation. While this Website offers the tools to perform online patent searching, the library cautions users not familiar with patents that they will find it difficult to construct online searches and interpret the search results; inexperienced users are strongly advised to go to a patent library for help. [EM]
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eFinancial News
eFinancial News is the Web-based version of the reputable print publication Financial News, one of the leading sources of news and information about investment banking, securities, and fund management in Europe. Along with much of the content from Financial News, the site also contains a news service of up-to-date securities news and information. The most current news stories are posted on the main page, and subject-specific news sections are available on the left side of the screen. After a painless, free registration, users have access to the content of the entire site, including a searchable archive of past feature articles; People Moves, a "comprehensive database of industry job moves"; and career information. Registered users may also choose to sign up for a variety of email alerts. [EM]
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The owners of this lucrative URL address have sponsored a Web directory created by a "team of 50 research analysts [that] has sifted through the Web to find relevant sites for our handcrafted Directory." All Websites in this 30-category directory have been annotated. The annotations, however, tend to be very terse and a bit vague. First time users are encouraged to skim over the excellent site guide, which gives a step-by-step manual for using the site as well as in-depth explanations of the terminology and taxonomy. [EM]
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Economics Research Network (ERN)
Sponsored by the Social Sciences Research Network (for more information, see the November 29, 1999 Scout Report), the Economics Research Network offers abstracts and full-text papers and articles from over 25 economics journals. The journals are searchable through the Social Sciences Research Network's electronic library. ERN lists the economic journals offered in the electronic library, complete with a pithy description of the journal and advisory board members. The site also includes job listings and announcements. [EM]
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General Interest

Dot-com Failures
Ryan Nitz's cynical technology news Website provides a deathwatch for Internet companies. Featured Failures, Dot-com Failure's collection of current news and information, charts the demise of dot-coms, including bankruptcy, sinking sales, layoffs, and closures. Each news article is linked from a reputable source, and includes a forum where users may post relevant rumors and comments. Visitors to Dot-com Failures are encouraged to participate in the Failure Poll and to make predictions about the next dot-com failure. The Lackey Calculator "should be used if you work more then 40 hours per week or if you took a salary cut to work at a startup" and will determine whether employees are lackeys. A helpful directory of technology recruiters is also included for unfortunate dreamers working for failing Internet start-ups. [EM]
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Typing Injury FAQ
A must for anyone with a desk job, CTD Resource Network, Inc.'s Typing Injury FAQ (TIFAQ) is an educational Website "containing a wide variety of information about repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), resources for dealing with these ailments, and a broad description of assistive products to reduce injury risk and symptoms." A complete collection of articles from TIFAQ experts provides information on RSI health care, ergonomics, and keyboards. These articles are complimented with articles from outside sources. Other sections of TIFAQ include answers to questions about ergonomic keyboards and office furniture, an annotated directory of organizations that deal with issues related to RSIs, as well as information on RSI concerns for children. [EM]
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Hispanic Business
The online counterpart to the print magazine Hispanic Business, this straightforward site features a daily news feed of articles of interest to the Hispanic business community. Also available here are articles from the current issue of Hispanic Business, including features on the topics of entrepreneurship, investing, and business start-ups. A Century of Hispanic History in the US is an interesting interactive presentation highlighting some of the important points of Hispanic-American history, politics, and entertainment in the 20th century. This site is chock-full of pertinent and current information. However, the site's navigational layout is somewhat confusing, which makes searching the site difficult. [EM]
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Digital Women
Digital Women strives to be a full-service portal for working women in all varieties of business. The site offers a huge collection of resources, including informative articles, manuals, free software, Web tools, and advice, as well as ten free newsletters and mailing lists. Digital Women also provides a place for business women to network, including information about the Digital Women 2000 Annual International Net-Together, which will take place on Vancouver Island September 29-October 1, 2000. [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 International Finance Discussion Papers
How Consistent Are Credit Ratings? A Geographic and Sectoral Analysis of Default Risk
Exchange Rate Dynamics and the Welfare Effects of Monetary Policy in a Two-Country Model with Home-Product Bias
Deviations from Purchasing Power Parity: Causes and Welfare Costs
Monetary Policy Independence in the ERM: Was There Any?

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Atlanta Working Papers
Likelihood-Preserving Normalization in Multiple Equation Models
Technology and Job Retention among Young Adults, 1980-98
An Analysis of Japanese Stock Return Dynamics Conditional on U.S. Monday Holiday Closures
The Dynamics of Informal Employment
Constructive Data Mining: Modeling Consumers' Expenditure in Venezuela
Capital Controls During Financial Crises: The Case of Malaysia and Thailand

FRB Cleveland
What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?

FRB Minneapolis Working Papers
Costly Banknote Issuance and Interest Rates Under the National Banking System

FRB Philadelphia Working Papers
Recovering Risky Technologies Using the Almost Ideal Demand System: An Application to U.S. Banking
Are Scale Economies in Banking Elusive or Illusive? Evidence Obtained by Incorporating Capital Structure and Risk-Taking into Models of Bank Production

Other Institutions:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Working Papers [.pdf]
Policy influences on economic growth in OECD countries: an evaluation of the evidence$FILE/00079164.PDF

International Monetary Fund Working Papers [.pdf]
The New Capital Adequacy Framework: Institutional Constraints and Incentive Structures
Financial Institutions, Financial Contagion, and Financial Crises
Czech Koruna and Polish Zloty Currency Options: Information Content and EU-Accession Implications
Bank Failures and Fiscal Austerity: Policy Prescriptions for a Developing Country

National Bureau of Economic Research Working Papers
How Good a Deal Was the Tobacco Settlement?: Assessing Payments to Massachusetts
Financial Crisis, Health Outcomes and Aging: Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s
Does Trade Raise Income? Evidence from the Twentieth Century
Estimating the General Equilibrium Benefits of Large Policy Changes: The Clean Air Act Revisited
Savings and the Terms of Trade Under Borrowing Constraints
Examining the Incidence of Downsizing and Its Effect on Establishment Performance
Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look
Direct Estimation of Policy Impacts
Conjectural Estimates of Economic Growth in the Lower South, 1720 to 1800

Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries
Forecasting with smooth transition autoregressive models
E-commerce and prices: theory and evidence
Information in Conflicts
Knowledge Capital and Performance Heterogeneity: A Firm Level Innovation Study
Diagnostic Checking in a Flexible Nonlinear Time Series Model
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors [.pdf]
Federal Reserve Bulletin
June 2000
Federal Reserve Bulletin is a monthly publication written and compiled by staff members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, reporting and analyzing economic developments, data, and bank regulatory issues. The June 2000 issue contains the articles "Profits and Balance Sheet Developments at U.S. Commercial Banks in 1999" and "Treasury and Federal Reserve Foreign Exchange Operations." [EM]

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Atlanta
_Economic Review
Second Quarter 2000
Economic Review is a quarterly publication from FRB Atlanta, publishing financial trends and economic analysis relevant to Federal Reserve policy. This issue includes the articles "Bank Loan-Loss Accounting: A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Evidence," "Central Bank Forecasting: An International Comparison," and "Are Displaced Workers Now Finished at Age Forty?" [EM]

FRB Boston
Bank Notes
June 2000
Bank Notes, a monthly publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, reports on a compendium of bank mergers and acquisitions in New England during the past month. [EM]

FRB Cleveland [.pdf]
Economic Trends
June 2000
Economic Trends, a monthly publication from FRB Cleveland, contains articles on labor markets, life expectancy and retirement, and personal, private, and government savings rates. [EM]

FRB Dallas [.pdf]
Southwest Economy
May/June 2000
The May/June 2000 issue of Southwest Economy includes the following articles: "The Second Great Migration: Economic and Policy Implications," "The 1990s Inflation Puzzle," and "Regional Update." [EM]

FRB Minneapolis [.pdf]
Quarterly Review
Spring 2000
The two articles featured in the Spring 2000 issue of FRB Minneapolis's Quarterly Review are "The Suffolk Bank and the Panic of 1837" and "Learning to Be Unpredictable: An Experimental Study." [EM]

FRB New York [.pdf]
Current Issues in Economics and Finance
June 2000
"Rapidly Rising Corporate Debt: Are Firms Now Vulnerable to an Economic Slowdown?" is the featured article in the June 2000 issue of Current Issues in Economics and Finance.

FRB St. Louis [.pdf]
Monetary Trends
July 2000
Each month, Monetary Trends follows interest rates, bank credit, measures of expected inflation, and reserve markets and short-term credit flows. [EM]

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [.pdf]
Regional Outlook
Second Quarter 2000
The Second Quarter 2000 edition of the FDIC's Regional Outlook provides analysis of regional and national trends affecting the federally insured depository institutions. [EM]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include speeches by the President of the European Central Bank, Willem F. Duisenberg, and the Vice-President of the Central Bank, Christian Noyer, at a press conference in Frankfurt, June 9, 2000; Governor of the FRB BOG Laurence H. Meyer's speech on the New Economy, given to the Boston Economics Club, in Boston, on June 6, 2000; and a speech on monetary policy in Sweden, given by Eva Srejber, Second Deputy Governor of Sveriges Riksbank, at the ForeningsSparbanken's Economics Day, in Vellinge, on June 6, 2000. [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: Economic Modelling (Vol 17, No 1), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (Vol 42, No 4), Accounting, Organizations and Society (Vol 25, No 6), Japan and the World Economy (Vol 12, No 2), Journal of Banking and Finance (Vol 24, No 6), Research Policy (Vol 29, No 6), and Mathematical Social Sciences (Vol 39, No 3). [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]

Research-based seminar: M-commerce
London, England
February 1, 2000

BAMMCONF: The Bayesian Applications and Methods in Marketing Conference
Columbus, Ohio
November 8, 2000-November 11, 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

Annual Benchmark Report for Retail Trade -- Census Bureau [.pdf]
This recently released 58-page report from the Census Bureau offers a detailed summary of "retail sales, purchases, accounts receivable, and inventory" from January 1990 to December 1999. [EM]
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Real Earnings -- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
According the this report from the BLS, real earnings from April to May 2000 declined 0.3 percent. This drop may have contributed to the 0.3 percent decline in average weekly hours as well as the 0.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. [EM]
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US International Trade in Goods and Services -- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the total monthly exports for April 2000 were $86.7 billion, with imports of $117.1 billion. This led to a deficit of $30.4 billion in goods and services. However, the deficit for April was $0.2 percent less than in March. [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 the most recent Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. According to this report, rain fell on many of the chief agricultural areas of the US. [EM]
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In The News

US to Lift Cuba Trade Embargo
1) "Deal on Cuba Would Ease US Sanctions" -- Washington Post
2) "House OKs lifting Cuba trade ban"-- Baltimore Sun
3) "US lifts Cuba food embargo after 40 years" -- The Times
4) "Elian and Cuba-US Trade" -- Christian Science Monitor
5) "Time to End the Embargo?" --
6) US-Cuba Relations -- State Department
7) A Closer Look: Latinos and America -- ABC News [RealPlayer]
For the first time in four decades, the United States will allow export sales of food and medicine to Cuba. This new agreement, which was drafted by House Republicans, will also allow the export of goods to formerly blacklisted countries including Lybia, North Korea, Sudan, and Iran. Unlike the other four countries, Cuba will not be allowed to export products to the US, nor will it be able to secure American private financing. In the first year after the new rulings go into effect, John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, has estimated that exports of American food products could reach between $25 million and $45 million. However the proposed bill has fallen short of the expectations of the Cuban government, which has demanded a complete lifting of the trade embargo. Cuban-American activists on both sides of the issues also find the proposal flawed, stating concerns including the lack of guarantee that the food and medicine will reach the Cubans who need the supplies the most.

The Washington Post's article on the easing the Cuba embargo (1) brings readers the views of Capitol Hill lawmakers. The Baltimore Sun's (2) coverage of this issue considers the positive and negative aspects of the language of the new bill. The British newspaper The Times(3) juxtaposes the lifting of the food embargo with the Elian Gonzalez case. This very short editorial (4) from the Christian Science Monitor ponders the reasoning behind the sudden desire for trade with Cuba. In January 2000, (5) ran this piece reviewing arguments for and against lifting the trade embargo against Cuba. US-Cuba Relations (6) charts news and information dealing with the political and economic relations between these two countries. This special report from ABC News (7) explores the "profound impact" Latinos have had on the United States, with feature articles, news briefs, and multimedia presentations. [EM]
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