The Scout Report for Business & Economics - April 19, 2001

April 19, 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


Budget of the United States Government Fiscal Year 2002 [.pdf, Excel, Lotus123 version 4]
Transmitted to Congress on April 9, 2001, the FY 2002 Budget covers the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2001. At the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) site, users can view (in .pdf and HTML formats) the full text of the budget and related documents. The latter include A Citizen's Guide to the Federal Budget, Analytical Perspectives, supplements, historical tables, and a selection of spreadsheets (in .wk4 or .xls formats). An internal search engine also allows users to locate and download individual sections of documents. Additional resources at the site include budget documents for FY 1995-2001 and a database of historical budget data. [MD]
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The Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative: a human rights assessment of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) [.pdf]$FILE/G0110184.pdf
The United Nations has published Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative: a human rights assessment of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP), a 53-page report analyzing some of the major difficulties of the HIPC initiative, the most crucial problem being the lack of sufficient funding for the effort. The author, Mr. Fantu Cheru, an independent expert on "the effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt," also found that governments of HIPC countries often put too much emphasis on macroeconomics, fiscal reform, and privatization measures in their efforts to please the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Cheru recommends that the creditor governments and institutions should carefully reconsider and re-evaluate the process in order to better help HIPC countries manage their debt. [EM]
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Government and Labour Law and Administration (GLLAD)
This new Website from the International Labour Organization highlights the focuses and projects of GLLAD, an ILO department that "provides services to build the capacity of labour ministries and other relevant government agencies to participate in social dialogue as well as to facilitate that dialogue." The site offers concise information on GLLAD programs such as labor legislation and civil service; each section provides basic descriptions of the programs as well as accompanying reports, publications, and working papers. The site links to several relevant resources including the ATLAS database (reviewed in the August 26, 1999 Scout Report for Business & Economics). [EM]
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The "New Economy" and Its Impact on Executive, Administrative and Professional Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
New from the Department of Labor Statistics and the University of Tennessee, this report examines whether or not distinctions between exempt and non-exempt workers under the FLSA are still relevant. It attempts to determine and demonstrate the effects of "the static salary test, including whether the absence of changes to these salary levels used to determine exemptions resulted in employers making structural changes to their workplace in order to maximize the number of exempt workers." Major findings include that salary tests are the most widely used method for determining whether an employee is an executive, administrative, or professional worker. However, these salary tests have not been updated in 25 years, a period during which price and wage levels have both tripled. The study is available in its entirety in HTML format. Users may either link directly to each section through the table of contents or scroll through the chapters in order. [EM]
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An Evaluation: Wisconsin Works (W-2) Program -- Department of Workforce Development, State of Wisconsin [.pdf]
Report only:
Appendices only:
Press release:
Last week, the Legislative Audit Bureau of Wisconsin issued a 221-page report evaluating the success of the state's high profile welfare reform program, Wisconsin Works (a.k.a. W-2). The report finds that, despite the fact that the state spent more money on the program in its first three years than in previous years on the old AFDC system, only a small minority have found jobs that pay more than poverty wages. The evaluation offers comprehensive data on the program's expenditures and effectiveness, in terms of welfare caseloads, employment, and income of participants. The report is posted in .pdf format and may be downloaded in total or in selected portions. [DC]
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Learning Resources

Pizza Package
A practical lesson in account management from BizEd, Pizza Package provides "both underpinning knowledge and practical worksheets which when complete can provide primary evidence for a portfolio." Users of this tutorial will explore the accounts of the fictitious Pepe's Pizza Parlour to learn how to manage each kind of account including trial balance, depreciation, and the balance sheets. Biz/Ed is an English site, so all figures will be in British currency. [EM]
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Electronic Statistics Textbook [.zip]
Electronic Statistics Textbook is a downloadable, full-text statistics textbook from the StatSoft software company. This textbook covers the basic concepts of statistics as well as more complex aspects. Along with a helpful glossary of terms, the book also contains an excellent collection of frequently asked questions. The Electronic Statistics Textbook may be downloaded in its entirety as a .zip file, or users may choose to look at it chapter-by-chapter in HTML format. [EM]
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CEO Sister
Touted as the "nation's Number One destination for Minority Businesswomen," CEO Sister is designed to serve as an online community for businesswomen of color. Highlighted on the site are headlines from both the Washington Post and US News. A menu of resources is located in a blue box on the upper left corner of the site and contains information on higher education, ecommerce, and networking. Interested users may register to receive a lifetime email account with the site as well as access to chats and bulletin boards. [EM]
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The Current Value of Old Money
The Current Value of Old Money, created by Roy Davies, a science librarian at the University of Exeter, provides annotated links to an array of Websites that help answer the question "How much would a specified amount of money at a certain period of time be worth today?" The annotated links contain more than just simple calculators, encompassing a rich variety of resources including data tables, research papers, and electronic mailing list archives on the question. The site also provides an informative bibliography of print resources on the topic of inflation. [EM]
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Startup Journal
New from the Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs, Startup Journal is a free, online publication focused on starting a business or franchise. Featured on the site's main page are a variety of interesting articles about challenges and successes in business startups. Use the green tabs on the top of the screen to visit Journal sections including a host of columnists, sections on how-tos and ideas, financing and franchising, as well as the day-to-day running of a business. This excellent resource combines sensible business advice with the Wall Street Journal's readable and absorbing writing. [EM]
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General Interest

O*NET Online
O*NET Online is an excellent compendium of information on a variety of occupations. Users may browse or search occupational information by job title, skills, or by interests, knowledge, or activities. Snapshots of each career include details of experience requirements, occupation requirements, worker requirements, worker characteristics, and occupation characteristics. [EM]
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"Earning Differences Between Women and Men"
Featured in the April 5, 2001 Scout Report for Business & Economics, "Earning Differences Between Women and Men" is a report from the US Department of Labor Women's Bureau. This short report is peppered with charts and graphs from government agencies including the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report explains that the wage gap still exists, with men earning on average 23.5 percent more than women. While the wage gap is shrinking, it hasn't fallen as much as predicted. [EM]
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The Short Run
The Short Run, an economics news and information site, was named for the economic principle that the economy operates in logical time, which means that time can run both forward and backward. The site features news, reviews, and articles on current economic issues including Bush's tax plan and the minimum wage. The site also offers the latest economic indicators and stock information. Be sure to check out the Studies section, which includes a collection of economic studies from the research economists at the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. The Short Run is an information-rich site that breathes new life into the study of economics; it will be a welcome bookmark for all Web-savvy economists. [EM]
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RIAA Gold & Platinum Database Search
Provided by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), this site offers a database of gold, platinum, multi-platinum, and diamond record sales awards, "the longest-running objective measure of achievement for sound recordings in the United States." At the site, users will find recent record sales headlines, a brief history of the awards, a pull-down menu listing of monthly awards since they began in 1958, and a keyword search engine with multiple options and modifiers. These include title, artist, label, format, award, and dates. Results include artist, title, certification date, award type, format, and label. Both title and label usually link to additional information and the label's homepage, respectively. [MD]
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Extreme Weather Sourcebook 2001
Originally reviewed in the February 26, 1999 Scout Report, the latest version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Extreme Weather Sourcebook offers easy access to updated data on the economic damage from hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes in the United States and its territories. Time spans for each type of extreme weather vary, with hurricane data covering 1900-99, tornadoes 1950-99, floods 1955-1999, and lightning 1959-1994; however, all damage data are reported in constant 1999 dollars to simplify comparisons. The data are offered by weather event and state by rank or alphabetically. [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 (FRB BOG)
Federal Reserve System:
FRB Cleveland Working Papers
Life-Cycle Saving, Limits on Contributions to DC Pension Plans, and Lifetime Tax Benefits

FRB Minneapolis Working Papers
A Game-Theoretic View of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level

FRB San Francisco Working Papers
Solvency Runs, Sunspot Runs, and International Bailouts
Inflation Taxes, Financial Intermediation, and Home Production

Other Institutions:
Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy Working Papers
Creating an Environment: Developing Venture Capital in India

International Monetary Fund Working Papers
Subramanian, Arvind; Tamirisa, Natalia; African Department; Policy Development and Review
Human Capital Convergence: International Evidence
Inflation Targeting in the Context of IMF-Supported Adjustment Programs
In Search of Coincident and Leading Indicators of Economic Activity in Argentina
What Drives Contagion: Trade, Neighborhood, or Financial Links?
Euro-Area Banking at the Crossroads
Sustaining Fixed Exchange Rates: A Model with Debt and Institutions
A Cointegration Analysis of Broad Money Demand in Cameroon

National Bureau of Economic Research
Saving Puzzles and Saving Policies in the United States
The Financial Problems of the Elderly: A Holistic Approach
Pre-Contractual Reliance
Individual Learning About Consumption
Precautionary Saving and the Marginal Propensity To Consume out of Permanent Income
Markets and Multiunit Firms from an American Historical Perspective
Why is Health Related to Socioeconomic Status?

Wharton Financial Institutions Center
The Value of Integrative Risk Management for Insurance Products with Guarantees
Variable Selection in Data Mining: Building a Predictive Model for Bankruptcy

Stockholm School of Economics Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
The Dynamics of Capital Structure: Evidence from Swedish Micro and Small Firms
Size and power of the likelihood ratio test for seasonal cointegration in small samples: A Monte Carlo study
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Federal Reserve System 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. [EM]

Federal Reserve System:
FRB Chicago [.pdf]
Chicago FedLetter
May 2001
This monthly newsletter features one essay on economic policy issues of regional or national interest. This month's Chicago FedLetter, which includes a regional economic index, highlights the article "Cross-state evidence on the relationship between unemployment and wage growth" by Daniel Aaronson. [EM]

FRB Cleveland [.pdf]
Economic Trends
April 2001
Published by the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends analyzes trends including labor markets, the federal budget, and commercial banks. [EM]

FRB Dallas
Southwest Economy
March/April 2001
Southwest Economy features the following articles in its March/ April 2001 issue: "Texas Economy Cools in 2000," "Bank Competition in the New Economy," and "Why Free Trade in the Americas." [EM]

FRB New York
Current Issues in Economics and Finance [.pdf]
March 2001
"New York-New Jersey Job Expansion to Moderate in 2001" is the featured article in the March 2001 issue of Current Issues in Economics and Finance.[EM]

FRB San Francisco [.pdf]
Western Economic Developments
March 2001
The March 2001 Western Economic Developments considers the signs of economic slowing in the twelfth district. [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: Journal of Income Distribution (Vol 9, No 1), Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control (Vol 25, No 8), Food Policy (Vol 26, No 2), European Journal of Political Economy (Vol 17, No 1), and International Journal of Forecasting (Vol 17, 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 International Conference on Money, Investment and Risk, October 31-November 2, 2001, in Nottingham, UK; Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association International Meeting (LACEA), October 18-20, 2001, in Montevideo, Uruguay; and International Atlantic Econonomic Society Fall Conference, October 11-14, 2001, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [EM]

Business and Economics Society International Conference
Paris, France
July 22-26, 2001
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Job Openings from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Job Openings in Economics
Job Openings in Business and Management

Job Openings for Economists (JOE)

Inomics: Job Openings for Economists
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New Data

US International Trade in Goods and Services, February 2001 -- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
The goods and services deficit was recorded as $27.0 billion, 6.3 billion less than in January 2001. Total February imports were $117.4 billion, and exports were reported at $90.5 billion. [EM]
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Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment, February 2001 -- Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to this monthly report from the BLS, 209 metropolitan areas in the US reported unemployment rates lower that the US average of 4.6 percent. However, 117 areas recorded rates higher than the national average. [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 April 2001 include the mild production report and weather-crop summary. [EM]
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Electric Power Monthly, March 2001 -- Energy Information Administration [.pdf]
The EIA has determined that in December 2000, total US net generation of electricity rose to 336 billion kilowatthours, 6 percent higher than the amount recorded in December 1999. Seventy-six percent of this total was generated by electric utilities. [EM]
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In The News

Fed's Surprise Move
1) "Heeding Economic Danger Signs" -- Washington Post
2) "Is the Fed's Action Just in Time, or Has It Come Too Late?" -- New York Times (free registration required)
3) "Fed rate cut sends market soaring" -- Chicago Sun Times
4) FOMC statement and Board discount rate action
5) Special Report: Eyes on the Fed -- CNNfn
6) "Alan Greenspan's nightmare" --
7) "After Greenspan: The Taylor Rule?" -- Time Magazine,9171,99824,00.html
8) Home of the Unofficial Alan Greenspan Fan Club

In a surprise move, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee cut interest rates by one-half of a percentage point on Wednesday. For the second time this year, the interest rate change was decided during an emergency conference call between scheduled meetings. The Fed offered numerous reasons for the cut including slow business investment, tapering consumer confidence, unsteady foreign economies, and a continuing slide in the US stock market. This year alone, the Fed interest cuts have totaled 1.5 percentage points. In response, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 399 points on Wednesday. However, many economists are pessimistic that this flurry of interest rate cuts will be enough to fight the impending recession. "It is too late to prevent a recession. The process that leads to job losses is already in motion," commented Anirvan Banerji, the director of research at the Economic Cycle Research Institute in New York.

For basic news and information on the most recent Fed interest rate cut, articles in the Washington Post(1), New York Times(2), and Chicago Sun Times(3) offer several perspectives. The official statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (4) on yesterday's cut explains, "a significant reduction in excess inventories seems well advanced." CNNfn (5) provides continuing coverage of the Fed's activity in its ongoing special report Eyes on the Fed. blames Alan Greenspan's "paranoia about inflation" for the sliding US economy, while Time Magazine(7) ponders, "Was it really right for one 72-year-old man, fond of long baths and Ayn Rand, to have so much control over our economy?" Finally, unabashed cheerleaders of the Fed Chairman must check out (8) (reviewed in the May 4, 2000 Scout Report for Business & Economics).
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