The Scout Report for Business & Economics - March 22, 2001

March 22, 2001

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the 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


2001 Trade Policy Agenda and 2000 Annual Report [.pdf]
Recently released by the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Programs, the 2001 Trade Policy Agenda and 2000 Annual Report outlines the trade agenda of the Bush Administration. According to the overview, President Bush "is strongly committed to a trade policy that will remove trade barriers in foreign markets, while further liberalizing our market at home." The main body of the document contains the President's 2000 Annual Report on the Trade Agreements Program, which details trade policy and activity during 2000, including an update on the activities of the World Trade Organization, regional and bilateral negotiations, and trade enforcement and policy development. Three annexes cover "US Trade in 2000," "Background Information About the WTO," and "List of Trade Agreements." The document is available in its entirety. Each chapter, however, must be downloaded separately in .pdf format. [EM]
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Halfing World Poverty by 2015: Growth, equity, and security -- Department for International Development [.pdf]
This new 57-page report from the UK's Department of International Development considers strategies for reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty in the world from 30 percent to 15 percent. The report examines poverty in "absolute terms, but also highlights the importance of poor people's own wider experience of poverty, including food security, unemployment, housing, water, and vulnerability as particular concerns." The document is divided into six main chapters which outline the issues and targets, offer insight into the lessons already learned on national and global levels, and provide strategies for lessening poverty. [EM]
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Free Trade Area of the Americas
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) stems from a 1994 initiation to "unite the economies of the Western Hemisphere into a single free trade arrangement." The three main components of this agreement include the trade ministers from countries in the Western Hemisphere, twelve distinct working groups (such as market access, smaller economies, and competition policy), and the Vice Ministers of Trade of the Western Hemisphere. This Website follows the progress of the FTAA over the past seven years including reports and activities of all the working groups, information on business negotiation efforts, and a publication database of official documents. The Website is available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. [EM]
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FedScope [.pdf]
Created and maintained by the Office of Personnel Management, FedScope is an analytic data processing Web tool to help users find and analyze Federal employment data. FedScope offers several "canned reports" which have already been created as well as "freestyle reports" that allow users to choose which of the thirteen key data elements they would like to include in each custom chart or graph they create. The site also includes a helpful introduction and new users section, as well as a glossary of terms and a help section. [EM]
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Committee on Commodity Problems [MS Word]
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations met March 6-9, 2001 in Rome. Documents from this meeting have been made available to the public. The papers (in Microsoft Word format) include "World Commodity Situation and Outlook," "Report on Technical Assistance related to the Multilateral Trade Negotiations in Agriculture," and "Analysis of the Current Market Access Situation and of Further Trade Expansion Options in Global Agricultural Markets." [EM]
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Learning Resources

Research & Reference Gateway: Research Guides: Business
An important resource from the Rutgers University Libraries, this business research resources guide puts the top business research sources in one easy-to-use place. The portal is divided into eighteen sections, including Business News Sources, Job Searching, Market Research, and Financing Your Business. Within each section, there are myriad well-organized sites complete with short annotations. The librarians responsible for this site have thoughtfully included dates for each section denoting when each part was last updated. [EM]
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International Business Resource Connection
The International Business Resource Connection (IBRC) is an outreach tool created by the Center for International Business Education and Research within University of Kansas School of Business. The IBRC intends to help international trade and business education by focusing on the Internet as a communication tool to help develop international business opportunities for "firms located in the heartland of the United States." The site contains an enormous collection of helpful links and information for doing business internationally. Featured on the site is the IBRC trade database which allows users to search for Midwestern companies by product, service, or Standard Industrial Classification description. Also included is a host of information on the business practices and cultures of different countries. The IBRC will be a welcome bookmark for anyone interested in international business or forming business relationships with firms in the Midwest. [EM]
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Investopedia Tutorials
Investopedia (reviewed in the September 7, 2000 Scout Report for Business & Economics) presents this wonderful collection of investment education tutorials. Tutorials are divided into two sections. The Building Blocks section provides investment basics including reading financial tables, retirement planning, and the P/E ratio. The intermediate tutorials offered in More Advanced Tutorials section include the Federal Reserve, inflation, and buying on margin. The tutorials are information-rich, clearly written, and link to terms found in the Investopedia glossary. However, they lack accompanying illustrations, save for a few charts and graphs. [EM]
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ABCs of Figuring Interest
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago created this publication to help users understand the fundamentals of interest. According to the summary at the end of the tutorial, "Although not an exhaustive list, the methods of calculating interest described here are some of the more common methods in use." The methods include simple interest, add-on interest, bank discount, and compound interest. Each type of interest is described, and several examples help illustrate how each kind of interest operates. [EM]
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EconLinks Update
EconLinks (originally reviewed in the July 2, 1998 Scout Report for Business & Economics) has been given a significant face-lift. A well-organized economics portal created and maintained by Professor Scott Simkins of the Department of Economics at North Carolina A and T State University, the EconLinks Website has been expanded to include general economics resources, a large collection of current and historical US economic indicators, and active policy institutes. All links include brief annotations. [EM]
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General Interest
Offering "Marketing Know-How from Professors and Professionals," is unique in the world of marketing Websites in that it focuses on the strategies and tactics that marketing firms use. After a quick free registration, users will have access to's collection of articles, tutorials, and marketing FAQs. Written by a fleet of marketing professors and professionals, these resources are all top-notch -- well-written, insightful, and up-to-date. [EM]
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Learn 2 Read the US Stock Market Page
A short lesson from, Learn 2 Read the US Stock Market Page is an excellent introduction to stock market page literacy. In reading these seven easy steps, users will quickly ramp-up their business section understanding. The tutorial thoroughly and patiently defines each section of the stock market page, including each of the main markets (NYSE, The Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the NASDAQ), every element given in stock quotes, mutual funds, corporate and mutual bonds, and treasury bond, note, and bill quotes. Clear illustrations will help even the most inexperienced novice understand how to read this the stock market page. [EM]
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A solid tool for anyone interested in a career in finance, FinCareer is an online magazine dedicated to news, information, advice, and job listings for financial careers. This site highlights articles and news from up-and-coming people and companies as well as basic human resources help. FinCareer also contains a large job bank and encourages jobhunting users to post their profiles. [EM]
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Mother Jones 400
Using data from the Federal Election Commission which was compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) (see the July 10, 1999 Scout Report), Mother Jones has put together an eye-opening Website which reveals the nation's top 400 financial political contributors and what they may be expecting for their contributions. Users may browse the list of contributors by industry or individual donor rank or search by donor, state, industry, party, or recipient. The rankings include donor name, amount given and to whom, their rank in 1998, and their industry. This information is interesting and useful, but it is also available elsewhere. The real value of the Mother Jones 400 lies in its profiles of the donors and the industry summaries, which are an excellent resource for learning about the various individuals, not always well known, who influence government policy and legislation with their donations and personal relationships with our representatives. [MD]
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"Survival of the Fittest" -- Consumer Reports
A special report from Consumer Reports, "Survival of the Fittest" provides advice and resources for choosing mutual funds. Along with this well-written article on the ins and outs of mutual funds, Consumer Reports has put together an engaging collection of mutual fund information. Tables highlight the features of the top-picked funds in categories including mid-cap, small-cap, international, and socially conscious funds. Another section of the report explains the pros and cons of allowing one big company to manage all of one's mutual funds. Of course, the mutual fund families are all rated, and bottom-line recommendations are given. [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
How Well Does the New Keynesian Sticky-Price Model Fit the Data?
The Effect of Past and Future Economic Fundamentals on Spending and Pricing Behavior in the FRB/US Macroeconomic Model

Federal Reserve System: [.pdf]
FRB Minneapolis Staff Reports
Finite Memory and Imperfect Monitoring
What Determines Labor Productivity?: Lessons From the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron-ore Industries
Why Did Productivity Fall So Much During the Great Depression?

Other Institutions:
National Bureau of Economic Research Working Papers
High- and Low-Frequency Exchange Rate Volatility Dynamics: Range-Based Estimation of Stochastic Volatility Measures
Boards of Directors as an Endogenously Determined Institution: A Survey of the Economic Literature
Modeling and Forecasting Realized Volatility
Aggregate Implications of Indivisible Labor
Dying to Save Taxes: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns on the Death Elasticity
A Quantitative Analysis of Pricing Behavior in California's Wholesale Electricity Market During Summer 2000

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Working Papers
Encouraging environmentally sustainable growth in Sweden
Public spending in Mexico: how to enhance its effectiveness

Bank of International Settlements Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Working Papers
The relationship between banking supervisors and banks' external auditors

International Monetary Fund Working Papers
Electoral Systems and Public Spending
Flight to Quality or to Captivity? Information and Credit Allocation
On the Long and Short of Central Bank Independence, Policy Coordination, and Economic Performance
Currency Crises and Foreign Reserves: A Simple Model
Physical Capital Adjustment within Spain: Long-run and Short-Run Analysis
Explaining Russia's Output Collapse: Aggregate Sources and Regional Evidence
Rent Seeking and Endogenous Income Inequality
Counterfeit Goods and Income Inequality
The Macroeconomic Effects of Higher Oil Prices
Different Strokes? Common and Uncommon Responses to Financial Crises
The Role of Medium-Term Fiscal Frameworks for Transition Countries: The Case of Bulgaria
Modeling Politics with Economic Tools: A Critical Survey of the Literature
Time-to-Build and Convex Adjustment Costs
Budgetary Transparency for Public Expenditure Control
Inflation Targeting with NAIRU Uncertainty and Endogenous Policy Credibility
Growth Slowdown in Bureaucratic Economic Systems: An Issue Revisited
Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility
Are African Current Account Deficits Different? Stylized Facts, Transitory Shocks, and Decomposition Analysis
China's Provincial Growth Dynamics
Crises and Liquidity: Evidence and Interpretation
Monetary Independence in Emerging Markets: Does the Exchange Rate Regime Make a Difference?

Wharton Working Paper
Do Financial Institutions Matter?
The Effect of Transaction Size on Off-the-Run Treasury Prices
Financial Regulation and Supervision in the Euro Area: A Four-Peak Proposal
Modeling and Forecasting Realized Volatility

Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Business Administration
The construction of global management consulting - a study of consultancies' web presentations
Narratives and Performance - The Case of Stock-broking
Social-Cognition and Social-Phenomenology - a Comparative Investigation of Two Theories of Action and a Suggested Synthesis
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
The Beige Book
March 7, 2001 update
The Beige Book, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions, gives an overview of federal reserve board district reports by district and sector. This update shows that in January consumer spending gained slightly in almost all Districts, mainly because retailers offered deep discounts on merchandise. [EM]

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Boston [.pdf]
Bank Notes
March 2001
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 Chicago [.pdf]
February 2001
A summary of the national and regional agricultural development, this issue of FRB Chicago's AgLetter reports that farmland values rose a little less than one percent between October 1, 2000 and January 1, 2001. [EM]

FRB Cleveland [.pdf]
Economic Trends
March 2001
The March 2001 issue of Economic Trends includes the newest data on the Canada/ US Exchange rate, labor markets, and production workers' earnings. [EM]

FRB Dallas [.pdf]
Houston Business
March 2001
Houston Business examines economics issues in and around this Texas city. This edition considers the role of cash in the Houston economy. [EM]

FRB St. Louis [.pdf]
National Economic Trends
February 2001
The latest issue of National Economic Trends, a short publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, contains the article "Will California Short-Circuit the Expansion?" [EM]

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FDIC Consumer News
Winter 2000/2001
FDIC Consumer News offers news, advice, and information for consumers on a variety of topics. This edition includes information on IRS tax refunds, privacy, and bank mergers. [EM]

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
BIS Review [.pdf]
Recently released articles and speeches from the BIS Review include the remarks of Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Roger W. Ferguson on financial consolidation, a speech given by the Federal Reserve Board's Laurence H Meyer about the new Basel capitol proposal, and Deputy Governor of the Sveriges Riksbank Villy Bergstrom on the Riksbank's role in the global economy. [EM]

United States International Trade Commission [.pdf]
Industry, Trade, and Technology Review
January 2001
A quarterly staff publication from the Office of Industries, Industry, Trade, and Technology Review contains the following articles: "US metal mining: Recent trends and uncertainty discourage domestic exploration and investment," "Factors affecting the competitive position of the Indian software industry," and "Manufacturing strategies of the North American major household appliance industry." [EM]

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI)
Latin American Outlook
March 2001
This issue of the Latin American Outlook features comments on Peru's political and economic situation. [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: International Journal of Industrial Organization (Vol 19, No 5), Journal of Financial Economics (Vol 59, No 3), The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance (Vol 41, No 1), Agricultural Economics (Vol 24, No 3), Labour Economics (Vol 8, No 1), North American Journal of Economics and Finance (Vol 11, No 2), Pacific-Basin Finance Journal (Vol 9, No 1), and Resource and Energy Economics (Vol 23, No 1). [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 Australasian Finance & Banking Conference (AFBC), December 17-19, 2001 in Sydney, Australia; International Conference on Money, Investment and Risk, October 31-November 2, 2001, in Nottingham, England; and Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association International Meeting (LACEA), October 18-20, 2001, in Montevideo, Uruguay. [EM]

57th Congress of the International Institute of Public Finance
August 27-30, 2001
Linz, Austria

Location of economic activity, regional development and the global economy
September 26-27, 2001
Le Havre, France
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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

International Goods and Services, January 2001 -- Bureau of Economic Analysis
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the goods and services deficit in January 2001 was $33.3 billion. This is $0.1 percent more than in December. January exports totaled $89.7 billion, while imports of $122.9 billion were reported. [EM]
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Producer Price Index -- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Released on March 16, 2001, the Producer Price Index for Finished Goods rose just 0.1 percent in February 2001. The index for finished goods other than foods and energy also fell 0.3 percent, after a 0.7 percent rise in January. This was mainly due to the decline in price for passenger cars and light motor trucks. [EM]
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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
2001 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 March 2001 include the Aquaculture Outlook which shows favorable conditions for production and exports of aquacultural products. [EM]
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Country Analysis Brief, Thailand -- Energy Information Administration (EIA)
This new brief from the Energy Information Administration analyses Thailand's energy sector. According to this report, Thailand is currently undergoing the restructuring and privatization of energy sectors including the electric utility and petroleum industries. [EM]
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In The News

Japanese Economy Rallies
1) "Japan soars as Asia mulls U.S. rate cut" --
2) "Tokyo stocks jump" -- CNNfn
3) "Japanese stocks surge" -- BBC News
4) "Bank of Japan under fire for 'policy misjudgment'" -- Daily Yomiuri
5) "Japan's Economic Plan Could Hurt US Companies" -- Washington Post
6) "Jump-starting Japan" -- The Economist
7) Center on Japanese Economy and Business
On Tuesday, March 20, 2001, Tokyo share prices rallied due to rumors that the Bank of Japan may try to boost the economy by buying stocks. By Wednesday morning, the Nikkei 225 index surged 7.5 percent after the Japanese yen had hit a 22-month low of 123.5 yen per dollar earlier this week. The national banks have been saddled with massive debts, estimated at 64 trillion yen or $521 billion and have been researching ways to revive their economy. According to Japanese economic ministers, the Japanese government will have a plan for dealing with the national banks' debt within the next six months. The Japanese government's new plan of investing into its banking system worries some US government officials who fear that the falling price of the yen will make Japanese imports cheaper and, therefore, more competitive with products made in the US.

CNN (1) and its financial sibling CNNfn (2) give basic reports on the Japanese stock market's surge on Tuesday. A short article from the BBC (3) provides current information on the Japanese economy as well as some historic context to Japan's debt problems. Japan's Daily Yomuiri(4) reports on Japan's criticisms of the new economic plans. The US's tentative reaction to Japan's new plan is covered by the Washington Post(5), while The Economist's up-to-the-minute reporting (6) compares US economic woes with those of Japan's. Columbia University's Center of Japanese Economy and Business (7) offers resources, programs, and events. [EM]
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