June 20, 2007

Huffington Post Now Has Business Section

Today, BELlog discovered that the Huffington Post, which is a digital newspaper, has created a "Business" news section. It has a blog as well for opinions. The best feature is the links to the news sections of many mainstream media, such as the Wall Street Journal, NYT Business, Financial Times, CNN, the Economist, and USA Today.

Check it out.

Posted by Becky at 3:53 PM

February 27, 2007

Wall Street Takes A Hit As Chinese Market Stumbles

From the NYT:

Stocks plunged in New York today after a sell-off in China rattled markets worldwide and surprisingly weak economic data fanned fears that the economy may be more vulnerable to a downturn than widely thought.

A wide sell-off had pushed the benchmark Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average down around 1 percent for most of the trading day. But minutes before 3 p.m., stock prices plummeted, sending the Dow briefly down more than 500 points, or 4 percent. The S&P also fell about 4 percent at the same time.


Posted by Becky at 2:50 PM

February 6, 2007

Trial for China Data

bellog was informed that University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a trial to China Data. Here's the text of the e-mail from Head of the Asian Studies Library, Karen Wei:

UIUC has been granted a one-month trial of China Data Online from 2/5/07-3/5/07. This is a comprehensive and authoritative database focusing on economic and demographic statistics of China, authorized by the National Bureau of Statistics of China and supported by the
University of Michigan's China Data Center. The current database contains enormous amount of raw data, including:

- Yearly Macro-economy statistics, 1949-
- Monthly Macro-economy statistics, 1998-
- City statistics, 1996-
- County statistics, 1970-
- Industrial data, 2001-
- China statistics on map
- China Statistical Yearbooks, 2002-
- Census data (1982, 1990, 1995, 2000)

Trial of China Data Online (http://chinadataonline.org/)

It will read only Urbana campus IP addresses, so you cannot access it remotely.

Try it and let us know what you think!

Posted by Becky at 11:13 AM

November 21, 2006

BEL Salutes: Professor William Bernhard

Bellog has discovered that U2IPERG (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign International Political Economy Research Group) Team member and Political Science professor William "Bill" Bernhard, along with co-author David Leblang at the University of Colorado, has a new book out, entitled Democratic Processes and Financial Markets: Pricing Politics.

To read more about the book, go here to read a prospectus. It will be available for circulation sometime next week in BEL.

Congratulations, Professor Bernhard. We look forward to seeing more research from you and other members of the U2IPERG community.

Posted by Becky at 3:08 PM

October 9, 2006

Edmund Phelps Wins Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2006

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2006 announced today went to Edmund Phelps, professor of political economy at Columbia University.

Professor Phelps's work is about "intertemporal tradeoffs in macroeconomic policy. " To explain further, the Nobel Prize site gives this explanation of this concept.


The work of Edmund Phelps has deepened our understanding of the relation between short-run and long-run effects of economic policy. His contributions have had a decisive impact on economic research as well as policy.

Low unemployment and low inflation are central goals of stabilization policy. During the 1950s and 1960s the view of a stable tradeoff between inflation and unemployment was established, the so-called Phillips curve. According to this, the price for reduced unemployment was a one-time increase of the inflation rate. Phelps challenged this view through a more fundamental analysis of the determination of wages and prices, taking into account problems of information in the economy. Individual agents have incomplete knowledge about the actions of others and must base their decisions on expectations. Phelps formulated the hypothesis of the expectations-augmented Phillips curve, according to which inflation depends on both unemployment and inflation expectations.

As a consequence, the long-run rate of unemployment is not affected by inflation but only determined by the functioning of the labor market. It follows that stabilization policy can only dampen short-term fluctuations in unemployment. Phelps showed how the possibilities of stabilization policy in the future depend on today's policy decisions: low inflation today leads to expectations of low inflation also in the future, thereby facilitating future policy making.

Another issue where intertemporal tradeoffs are of central importance concerns the desirable rate of capital formation. By foregoing consumption for investment in physical as well as human capital (education and research), today's generation can raise the welfare of future generations. Phelps clarified possible distributional conflicts among generations. He also showed that all generations may, under certain conditions, gain from changes in the savings rate. Phelps also pioneered the analysis of the importance of human capital for the diffusion of new technology and, hence, for growth.

Congratulations to Professor Phelps, Columbia University, and to our colleagues at the Watson Library of Business & Economics at Columbia who undoubtedly helped Professor Phelps in locating secondary research in the area of political economy.

Posted by Becky at 12:52 PM

September 16, 2006

Does the Death of Politicially Tied Board Member Impact a Company's Stock Price?

Yesterday at UIUC's College of Business, Vanderbilt Professor Mara Faccio gave a presentation entitled, "Sudden Deaths: Taking Stock of Political Connections", sponsored by the newly formed interdisciplinary group, U2IPERG (University of Ilinois International Political Economy Group) and CIBER, to a full house on sunny Friday afternoon.

Based on the growing literature that points out avenues in which politically connected individuals can benefit companies, Professor Faccio, with co-author Professor David Paisley studied 206 companies world wide who they could they identify as having corporate board members with political ties from 1973-2004. This quest was to answer the following, according to her Powerpoint presentation (submitted to BEL by Professor Paul Vaaler of the BA department):

* How valuable are corporate political ties? * Do geographic ties matter? Or do only personal and family ties count? Does the value of political connections depend on the strength of the relationship? *Do connections simply result in transfers of resources among different agents?


Florida Governor Lawton Chiles was an “original investor in Red Lobster restaurants.”

Baroness Brigstocke (of the UK House of Lords) was connected to Westminster Health Care Holdings Plc, since her husband Lord Griffiths was chairman of that company.

French Senator Claude Cornac was labeled as connected to Renault and Gas de France because of prior directorships.

Pamela Harriman, a Democrat, was a British aristocrat who was "very familiar" with many men in political circles, including Averell Harriman, diplomat and millionaire spouse.

Professor Faccio concluded the following from looking at press releases via Factiva and stock prices via Datastream and Worldscope (directly borrowed from her presentation):

Political ties, identified from the (common) location of a company’s headquarters and the city of the deceased politician, are particularly valuable for shareholders..

--Average price drop of -1.93% around the death of the politician for a sample of 7,080 companies
--Comparisons with previous studies suggest the value of political connections has previously been underestimated
--The price drop is even larger for those companies that are more likely to have stronger political links

Afterward, Professor Faccio met with some students who are interested in international political economy and strategy. Picture is below


Photo Credit: Natayla Shipachova, UIUC Doctoral Student.

There will be more monthly U2IREG seminars this fall. Stay tuned.

Posted by Becky at 2:31 PM