Monday, February 27, 2012

How Stores Develop Consumer Profiles

Interesting New York Times magazine article making the rounds about how stores glean statistical insight from your shopping habits to come up with surprising insights and predictions about you.

You're pregnant.

You got laid off. Or got a new job.

Now the store will mail you more coupons based on your anticipated future needs.

And it's all in what products you buy. Fascinating read for marketers and those interested in marketing statistics and human behavior.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Energy Use Statistics

Here are Economagic statistics from the US Department of Energy that tell you how much gasoline, coal, wood, wind, electricity, nuclear, oil, natural gas, solar, etc... was burned, used, stored or even thought about....

(note: follow the link above, sign in, scroll down and then choose Department of Energy monthly reports).

Goes by type of activity that consumed the industry too - as in commercial, residential and energy generation.

Ultimately, you can even get to imports/exports and prices paid, etc...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Find that International Stat in World Development Indicators Database

Find statistics on almost anything in the World Banks World Development Indicators database: economic, social, health-related, environmental and more for any country on the planet.

Just some of your stats: national savings rate, arable land, cell phone use, access to electricity, value of industry, water flow, access to public health, defense, labor force stats and more.

Good for international business students, social scientists, and public health students.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily Traffic Counts for Entrepreneurs

Estimated daily traffic for Central Texas here according to Texas Dept of Transportation

This is where electric eyes and cables send their traffic counts....

Good for entrepreneurs, urban planners, and more.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: Ludwig von Mises: The Theory of Money and Credit

As most of the Western world continues to believe that monetization of debt has no real consequences, it is important to point out that not everyone shares this view.

Ludwig von Mises's The Theory of Money and Credit takes the opposite view. This book belongs to what is called "The Austrian School" - the concept that the expansion of the money supply and/or credit will have real - although not always apparent - consequences.

The heart of much contention is a debate over the nature of economic activity. Is the economy largely organic or is the economy basically created and guided by the state?

Von Mises, of course, believes that the economy functions best without government intervention in the money supply (which can take many forms).

This is a debate that many people are having, and it behooves you to read up on more specific points like the business cycle, potential price distortions in the market, demand, and international trade.

My favorite point: creating money does not always produce obvious inflation if it prices goods out of the reach of ordinary people. Hmmm.....

For a gently critical review, click here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Books on the Financial Crisis

Here are our subject headings for the books on the current financial crisis (for which we need a catchy name!):

the best one: US Financial Crises

Global Financial Crisis

Financial Crises United States History

All the greatest hits are here: The Big Short, All The Devils Are Here, Simon Johnson and more.

Learn about CDOs, derivatives, easy money and loose lending, scapgoats du jour and credit bubbles!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Using SIC and NAICS Codes for Research

What are SIC and NAICS codes?

They stand for Standard Industrial Classification and North American Industrial Classification System and they are one method of finding related businesses.

Use them in databases for finding specific kinds of businesses; i.e. show me all the restaurants or metal fabricators or insurance companies, etc. You don't have to know the codes - most databases will let you search for the right code.

One criticism is that these codes don't reflect the words we mortals use for different businesses and sometimes they also seemed mired in the industrial past.

If you're having trouble finding the right SIC/NAICS code, try to find one business and then open the database record to see what code is associated with that.

Recommended Databases for this: ORBIS, MINT

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

History of Land Registration in the UK

It is very important to have a reliable, objective system of land titles - something we do not currently have in this country. I've written before about the importance of property rights to capitalism and the problems with unreliable electronic record-keeping in this country.

A lot of American law comes from English origins, so here's this good article about the history of land registration in the United Kingdom.

There's a reason we have county clerks and land registries and so on, and it wasn't always so!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Company Histories

Want to know the history of a company or corporation?

The first two things that come to mind are:

1) Hoover's - (company financials and company history) is available inside Campus Research (check the upper left)


Directory of Company Histories, but the interface is kinda confusing and it only contains a few volumes.

Another good source is Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands, which also features good historical information.

Just remembered that Marketline Advantage also has company histories in it. Do a search for your company and it should be included in the company record.

Most of the biggest American companies have books written about them. They are located in the catalog. Just do a keyword or subject search with your company name.

Finally, our digitized copies of older Mergent Manuals often have brief but informative company histories included.