The Scout Report for Business & Economics - October 19, 2000

October 19, 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


The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 -- United Nations
According to the recently released The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 (SOFA), the closing years of the last century were not particularly good for world food and agriculture. Due to difficult climatic conditions and the financial crisis of 1997, crop and livestock production in developing countries continued to decline noticeably. The report is divided into two main sections. The first offers a general world review of the state of agriculture including information on some specific current agricultural situations, economic environments and agriculture, and selected issues including the effects of microcredit and "conflicts, agriculture, and security." The second section explores in detail the lessons learned about world food and agriculture in the last 50 years. Main chapters in the section include "Half a Century of Food and Agriculture," "Socio-Economic Impact of Agricultural Modernization," "Food Nutrition Security: Why Food Production Matters," and "What Have We Learned." The entire body of this report is available online in HTML format. [EM]
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Electronic Commerce in Canada [.pdf]
The Electronic Commerce in Canada Website is the official Web presence of the Canadian Task Force on Electronic Commerce. The task force was created in 1998 as a "focal point and catalyst for the development of a comprehensive policy, regulatory, and legal framework, and to promote the growth and use of electronic commerce in Canada." The site offers excellent news, information, and resources about the Canadian government's ecommerce initiatives. This broad-based Website provides information on consumers, business, and the government. Along with a frequently-updated Features column which includes new events, Websites, and statistics and data, the site also contains a compendium of Canadian ecommerce reports and links. The Canadian Strategy section considers opportunities and challenges for Canadian ecommerce, and addresses the Canadian government's response to ten main issues including privacy, consumer protection, taxation, and digital signatures. Advantage Canada examines the ways in which Canada is positioned to become a leader in global ecommerce, and Global Initiatives looks at Canada's international ecommerce policies and themes. The Using Electronic Commerce Section offers a collection of links that showcases the ways in which the government, consumers, and businesses of Canada can use and educate themselves about electronic commerce. Electronic Commerce in Canada shows the way Canada has positioned itself to take full advance of ecommerce. [EM]
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Employment-Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP) -- ILO [.pdf]
From the International Labour Organisation, Employment-Intensive Investment Programme is "concerned with developing coherent policy packages that combine investments targeted at the needs of the poor with appropriate social policies." Through these programs, EIIP strives to create sustainable employment to relieve global poverty. The site outlines EIIP's many programs including Community Development with Accessibility Planning; Poverty and Investment Strategies; Sectoral Programmes; and the Advisory Support, Information Services, and Training (ASIST). A slide presentation walks users through the objectives and actions of the EIIP, and the site also contains a database of related documents and basic information about EIIP. [EM]
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"Markets for Small-Business- and Commercial-Mortgage-Related Securities, 2000" -- Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors [.pdf]
This 36-page report from the FRB BOG considers the "structure and operation of the markets for securitized loans and commercial mortgages and the availability of credit for business enterprises." In comparison to the 1998 edition of this report, the demands for credit for the financing of business and commercial real estate activity have remained high, and commercial mortgage debt and small-business loans have continued to expand at a fast rate. However, following the Russian default in the middle of 1998, the securitization of commercial loans has slowed considerably. Even though global financial markets have recovered since then, premiums on interest rates on risky or "less liquid" private sector debt, such as commercial-mortgage-backed securities, have remained quite high. Along with reporting on the changes in markets, the report also examines the legislative and administrative actions taken since 1998, and considers whether further action is needed. [EM]
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Congressional Budget Office: Budgeting For Defense: Maintaining Today's Forces
Released last month, this report from the Congressional Budget Office provides excellent background research for the current debate between the two major Presidential candidates over the American military's state of readiness. In keeping with its nonpartisan mandate, the report makes no recommendations, but it does summarize the current threats to US security, current military strategy, and the factors that drive Defense Department budgetary requests. In addition, the report offers estimates for budgetary requirements for sustaining defense capabilities at their current levels (as well as a discussion of the limitations to these estimates) and reviews alternative budget approaches, including reducing or raising defense funding. [DC]
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Learning Resources

Global Development Gateway (GDG)
This new pilot project from the World Bank is designed as a portal for resources and tools on development issues, enabling those in the field to "share information, easily communicate, and build communities of practice around significant development challenges from the grassroots up." Currently, users can visit the site to learn about the project, its prototype features, and view the demo. At present, the demo offers country gateways for twelve nations. Each gateway provides numerous annotated links organized by topic under four categories: country guide; government and law; economy and business; and society, culture, and human development. News, a link to data, and a keyword search engine are also provided. At least 50 country gateways will be operational by June 2003. The demo also includes resources for selected topics and links to development-related news stories. Anyone interested in development issues will want to track the progress of this site. [MD]
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Business Advice Online
Business Advice Online is a creation of the Small Business Service (SBS), a new government agency in the United Kingdom. Launched in April 2000, the Website highlights some of the excellent resources available through this agency in the Business Topics section. Clicking on a topic brings up a subtopic menu, which in turn leads to short synopses of SBS services and hyperlinks to other UK government documents. Users be forewarned that the links are a little hard to see because the main text is dark blue and the links are in black font. The site also contains links to other industry information, business news, and key contacts. Another slight flaw in the design of the site is that some of the subtopic menus pop-up very low in the screen, so users may have to scroll down a bit to see the menus. However, these small problems should not overshadow the wealth of information found on Business Advice Online. [EM]
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A Guide to Sources of Labour Information -- ILO
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has created A Guide to Sources of Labour Information specifically for librarians working in organizations that deal with labor issues. This source, which is a helpful collection development tool, "identifies core information resources in the field of labour, presents tools for the selection of useful material and gives details on how to obtain these core publications." Through the menu on the left side of the screen, the guide gives excellent step-by-step advice in selecting materials that should be included in any library that has a labor focus. The site also offers tips on creating collection development policies and suggests some of the essential materials for labor-related collections. [EM]
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Patents and Trademarks -- LSU Library Webliography
Created and maintained by the Louisiana State University Library, this bibliography of Web resources concentrates on patent and trademark sources. One in a collection of Webliographies, Patents and Trademarks offers a compendium of resources organized by topic. The Websites include links to other patent and trademark sites, general information, government and non-government organizations, and online journals. While this is certainly a solid collection of resources, the links would be enhanced by short reviews or annotations for the resources. [EM]
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Library of Links for Business
From the Economics Press, Inc., the Library of Links for Business is a straightforward comprehensive links page that gathers some of the best business links on the Internet in one place. This large collection is organized in alphabetical order by topic and includes subjects such as Investing, Online Education, Directories, and Advertising and Marketing. Short descriptions accompany most of the links. [EM]
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Nobel and Ig Nobel prizes
2000 Nobel Prizes [RealPlayer, .pdf]
Ig Nobel Prizes [RealPlayer]
Over the past week, the Nobel Foundation has announced the winners of its 2000 prizes, beginning with the prize for Physiology or Medicine and culminating with the Peace Prize this morning. This year's Peace Prize was awarded to Kim Dae Jung "for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular." Press releases, general and advanced information, related links, and archived webcasts of the announcements are available for each of the winners at the Nobel site. On October 5, the tenth annual Ig Nobel awards ceremony was held at Harvard University. The Ig Nobel awards honor individuals whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced." This year's illustrious winners include, in the Physics category, Andre Geim of the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Sir Michael Berry of Bristol University (UK) for using magnets to levitate a frog and a sumo wrestler, and the Peace award goes to the British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!" A complete list of winners with links to further information is provided at the site, along with previous winners and an archived webcast of this and past year's ceremonies (free registration required). [MD]
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General Interest

Peanuts and Crackerjacks -- FRB Boston
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has created this interactive game studying the business and economics of professional sports. The game is structured around baseball, with nine innings, and up to nine questions in each inning. The score -- single, double, triple, or home run -- depends on the level of difficulty of each question. The Sports Page section offers background information to help answer the questions. A teacher's guide is also included. [EM]
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The Value Chain -- Industry Week
From Industry Week,The Value Chain is an online publication providing up-to-date information, articles, and resources on value chain management (VCM), a theory of management that considers every step of manufacturing a product, from raw materials "right down to disposing of the packaging after use." Along with feature articles and columns about value chain management, the site also contains a FAQ, which offers excellent basic advice about VCM, a New Roundup Weblog of breaking VCM news, and short research pieces. [EM]
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ValuePro Stock Value Calculator
This online calculator tabulates the baseline valuation for any publicly traded stock. Enter the stock's ticker symbol, and the program will value the stock. Users may also change any of the input for a stock and revalue it. The site contains a brief helpful guide to using online valuation and a thoughtful review of the product from Business Week.[EM]
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Virtual Finance Library
Search Partners, a provider of executive financial search services, presents the Virtual Finance Library, a packed collection of links to financial sites. The main page of Virtual Finance Library contains general information including reference and dictionary sites, calculators and converters, and interesting links. The rest of the library is accessible via the table of contents on the left side of the screen. The Websites are organized by topic, geographic location, or subtopic. Each topic begins with a short introduction to the subject, several pages long, and most links are descriptively annotated. [EM]
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Culture Crash -- San Francisco Chronicle
From October 17, 2000 to October 19, 2000, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a three-part series exploring the clash between the economic boom led by New Economy start-ups and the artists, musicians, and writers that have historically been part of the city's make-up. According to a survey by Grubb & Ellis Realtors, the only cities with higher rent than San Francisco are London and Hong Kong. The series mainly focuses on the plight of the arts, with articles on city's lack of affordable studio spaces and apartments, the artists's backlash against regentrification, and profiles of art communities that have been successful and unsuccessful in staying in San Francisco. Finally, the series examines the routes that other large cities, such as Chicago and Seattle, have taken in order to ensure affordable live/ work spaces for artists. Culture Crash offers insight and hope for about this ongoing battle in a city where the US's economic boom is driving out the cultural and artistic communities that have always thrived there. [EM]
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Here's a site that's both fun and useful to students of American pop culture. Billing itself "the world's largest searchable database of classic print ads," AdFlip may be keyword searched or browsed by several methods. The ads are indexed by category (automotive, electronic, fashion, etc.), decade (1940s to current), and several specialty categories (ad as art, famous, advocacy, provocative [a few nudes here], today's top ten). Each collection of ads (presented as thumbnails) can be displayed by date, name, or ID number. Each of the decade collections can be further refined by a number of categories, such as automotive manufacturers, women's fashion, alcohol, and furniture and appliances, among others. [MD]
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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 [.pdf]
Markov Regime-Switching and Unit Root Tests

Federal Reserve System [.pdf]:
FRB Atlanta Working Papers
Bank Capital Structure, Regulatory Capital, and Securities Innovations
Government Financing in an Endogenous Growth Model with Financial Market Restrictions
Barriers to International Capital Flows: When, Why, How Big, and for Whom?
The CLS Bank: A Solution to the Risks of International Payments Settlement?
Financial Matchmakers in Credit Markets with Heterogeneous Borrowers

FRB Chicago Working Papers
Bank Capital Regulation With and Without State-Contingent Penalties
For How Long Are Newly Chartered Banks Financially Fragile?
The Labor Supply Response To (Mismeasured but) Predictable Wage Changes
Subordinated Debt and Bank Capital Reform
Does the Community Reinvestment Act Influence Lending? An Analysis of Changes in Bank Low-Income Mortgage Activity
Employment Flows, Capital Mobility, and Policy Analysis
Using Market Valuation to Access the Importance and Efficiency of Public School Spending
Market Discipline in the Governance of U.S. Bank Holding Companies: Monitoring vs. Influencing
The Effects Of Health, Wealth, And Wages On Labor Supply And Retirement Behavior
Dynamic Monetary Equilibrium in a Random-Matching Economy

FRB Kansas City Research Working Papers
On the Importance of Geographic and Technological Proximity for R&D Spillovers: an Empirical Investigation
Private Money, Settlement, and Discount: A Comment

FRB Minneapolis Working Papers [.ps]
The transition to a new economy following the Second Industrial Revolution

FRB New York Staff Reports
How Stable Is the Predictive Power of the Yield Curve? Evidence from Germany and the United States

FRB St. Louis Working Papers
The Value of Inside and Outside Money
Forecasting Inflation and Growth: Do Private Forecasts Match Those of Policymakers?
Class Struggle Inside the Firm: A Study of German Codetermination
Gravity Model Specification and the Effects of the Canada-U.S. Border

Other Institutions [.pdf]:
National Bureau of Economic Research Working Papers
Does Factor-Biased Technological Change Stifle International Convergence? Evidence from Manufacturing
Retirement Responses to Early Social Security Benefit Reductions
Technology, Trade, and Adjustment to Immigration in Israel
Internet Car Retailing
The Impact of the Estate Tax on the Wealth Accumulation and Avoidance Behavior of Donors
Wiring the Labor Market
The Governance of the New Enterprise
The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap
Competition Between Private and Public Schools: Testing Stratification and Pricing Predictions
Decoupling at the Margin: The Threat to Monetary Policy from the Electronic Revolution in Banking
A Re-examination of the Predictability of Economic Activity Using the Yield Spread
Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy
Ferreting Out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups
The Credit Crunch in East Asia: What can Bank Excess Liquid Assets Tell us?
Simple Estimators for Treatment Parameters in a Latent Variable Framework with an Application to Estimating the Returns to Schooling
The Nature and Nurture of Economic Outcomes
Behavioral Economics
The Diffusion of the Tractor in American Agriculture: 1910-60
A Historical Test of the Tiebout Hypothesis: Local Heterogeneity from 1850 to 1990
Class Struggle Inside the Firm: A Study of German Codetermination
Who Benefits Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?

Bank of International Settlements Working Papers
Recent initiatives to improve the regulation and supervision of private capital flows
Measuring potential vulnerabilities in emerging market economies
Bank capital regulation in contemporary banking theory: a review of the literature

International Monetary Fund Working Papers
The Benefits and Costs of Intervening in Banking Crises
Determinants of Dollarization: The Banking Side
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Banking Soundness and Recent Lessons
Filtering the BEER: A Permanent and Transitory Decomposition
Predictable Movements in Yen/DM Exchange Rates
Domestic Competition, Cyclical Fluctuations, and Long-Run Growth in Hong Kong SAR
The Impact of Monetary Policy on the Exchange Rate: Evidence from Three Small Open Economies
Selected Issues Concerning Monetary Policy and Institutional Design for Central Banks: A Review of Theories
Reforming Pensions: Myths, Truths, and Policy Choices
The Facts About Time-to-Build

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Working Papers [MS Word]
Knowledge, technology and economic growth: recent evidence from OECD countries
Average effective tax rates on capital, labour and consumption
The health care system in Poland

Wharton Financial Institutions Center Working Papers
On the Perils of Security Pricing by Financial Intermediaries: The Case of Open-End Mutual Funds
Class Struggle Inside the Firm: A Study of German Codetermination
The Internet and the Future of Financial Services: Transparency, Differential Pricing and Disintermediation

Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
Clever agents in adaptive learning
Variability and average profits: does Oi's result generalize?
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Federal Reserve Bulletin
October 2000
The October 2000 issue of Federal Reserve Bulletin offers the article "Productivity Developments Abroad," which examines current productivity trends in foreign industrial countries. [EM]

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Boston
Bank Notes
October 1, 2000
Bank Notes, a monthly publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, reports on a compendium of banking-related news including bank mergers and acquisitions in New England during the past month. [EM]

FRB Richmond
Region Focus
Summer 2000
FRB Richmond's Region Focus offers synopses of its Summer 2000 issue, including the cover story "Old Industry, New Business: Making and Selling Goods in the Information Age." [EM]

FRB San Francisco
Western Economic Developments
September 2000
The Twelfth District reports that economic growth continued at a steady pace, including job growth, district payroll jobs, and labor markets. [EM]

FRB St. Louis
National Economic Trends
October 2000
The October 2000 issue of National Economic Trends contains an impressive collection of graphs covering economic trends including sections on Output and Growth, Interest Rates, and Labor Markets. [EM]

United States International Trade Commission
International Economic Review
August/September 2000
International and US trade developments reported in the August/ September 2000 issue of International Economic Review include the United States-Japan agreement on telecommunications and the impact of "freer trade" on the environment. [EM]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include the speech given by the Governor of the Banque de France, Jean-Claude Trichet, on worldwide tendencies in financial systems; a speech on lessons that Europe could learn from other countries's experiences, given by Mr Lars Heikensten, First Deputy Governor of the Sveriges Riksbank; and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Thailand, Tanya Sirivedhin's speech on financial and capitol markets. [EM]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
Economic Outlook
October 2000
The October 2000 issue of Economic Outlook features the story "Oil - It Could Get Ugly." [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]

National Bureau of Economic Research Books
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) presents its collection of books published in 2000, complete with tables of contents and ordering information. The site also offers chapters from books-in-progress. [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: Food Policy (Vol 25, No 2), Information Economics and Policy (Vol 12, No 3), Global Finance Journal (Vol 10, No 2), International Journal of Forecasting (Vol 16, No 3), Insurance Mathematics and Economics (Vol 27, No 1), and Japan and the World Economy (Vol 12, 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. Forthcoming international conferences currently listed include 2001 North American Winter Meeting of the Econometric Society, January 5-7, 2001 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and the International Atlantic Economic Conference, March 14-19, 2001 in Athens, Greece. [EM]

Austrian Scholars Conference 7
March 30-31, 2001
Auburn, Alabama

International Health Economics Association International Conference
July 22-25, 2001
York, U.K.
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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

Poverty Among Working Families: Findings From Experimental Poverty Measures -- Census Bureau
This report from the US Census Bureau explores poverty among working families. The report uses experimental measures based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences Panel of Poverty and Family Assistance, including the following elements: noncash government benefits, job-related expenses, child care costs, social security taxes, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. [EM]
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U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, July 2000 -- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
The July 2000 edition of the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services shows that the total exports in July were $89.7 billion, and imports were $121.6 billion. This resulted in a goods and services deficit of $31.9 billion. The deficit in June was $29.8 billion. [EM]
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Producer Price Index, September 2000 -- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Producer Price Index for Finished Goods rose 0.9 percent in September 2000. In August, this index fell 0.2 percent, and it showed no movement in July. [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 Fruit and Tree Nuts report, which provides current historical data and intelligence and predicts changing conditions in the United States's fruit and nut tree sector. [EM]
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In The News

Bush and Gore Debate Social Security
1) "Social Security dispute itself is radical: Candidates' plans reflect widely different views of government's role in saving troubled system" -- USA Today
2) Presidential Debates 2000 -- CSPAN [Real Player]
3) Transcript of Bush/ Gore Debate Exchange on Social Security -- Social Security Privatization
4) Vice President Al Gore: Working for Older Americans -- Gore 2000
5) Social Security -- [.pdf]
6) "Breaking Down Debate on 'Saving' Social Security" -- Time Daily,2960,56352-101001002,00.html
7) Issue Brief: Social Security Reform -- Concord Coalition [.pdf]
8) "Half Favor Bush's Social Security Investment Plan" -- Reuters/Yahoo! Daily News
One of the key issues in the presidential debate on October 17, 2000 was the reform of the Social Security program. While both candidates agree that the system needs to be changed and improved, their ideas for instituting change are quite different. Governor Bush has proposed naming a bipartisan panel responsible for creating a plan that would allow workers to set up personal investment accounts, thus emphasizing individual responsiblity and "trust in the free market." Vice-President Gore's plan places the chief responsibility in the hands of the government by changing Social Security very little, but including the use of $1.4 trillion in tax revenue, along with Social Security taxes, to pay beneficiaries. While Bush's plan is slightly riskier, since it depends on a strong market, according to the latest polls, it is slightly favored by voters. Fifty percent of voters prefer Bush's plan, while only 44 percent are leaning toward's Gore's Social Security ideas.

USA Today(1) provides concise, easy-to-understand information about the two presidential candidates's platforms on Social Security. CSPAN (2) features video footage of the recent presidential debates along with transcripts and schedules. The transcript (3) of Gore and Bush's exchange on social security during the October 3, 2000 debate has been posted by the Social Security Privatization newsletter. Gore's Social Security plan (4) can be found in his "Working for Older Americans" report. George W. Bush (5) offers his approach, bulleted reform proposal highlights, and several fact sheets to help explain his position on Social Security. Time Daily(6) gives a brief overview of each plan, including sections on "What It Solves" and "Where It's Weak." An excellent 20-page issue brief (7) from the Concord Coalition provides a point-by-point analysis of the two presidential candidates's Social Security proposals. According to this nationwide poll (8), 50 percent of Americans favor Bush's Social Security platform, 44 percent prefer Gore's, 2.8 percent favor neither position, and 3.1 percent have no opinion. [EM]
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The Scout Report for Business & Economics is published every other Thursday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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