Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Disposable Income

The BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) collects data on disposable personal income.

Current data here

Historical data here

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Diffusion Studies Classic Article

This is one of the classic articles about early adopters/diffusion studies.

Midwest farmers slowly adopted hybrid seed corn in this study. What motivates early adopters and who are they? Also learn to design theoretical and statistical models to measure these things. 

There are costs and benefits and drawbacks to adopting hybrid seed corn (it can't be replanted in must be purchased every year, for example.) How did farmers decide, despite this, hybrid seed corn was still worthwhile?

How long does it take for product adoption to penetrate the community?  What is the exact process of that?

Important things to know if you are introducing a new product!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Insurance Company Financials

Insurance companies have special financial parameters: cash deposits, the composition of security assets, debtors, financial reinsurance, intercompany investments and more.

The MOST DETAILED WAY to investigate insurance companies is by using the Best's Insurance Reports (currently available only in print). Best's is divided into Life/Health and Property/Casualty.

Best's contains special insurance industry financials in great detail.  For example, leverage tests, types of bonds held (treasuries, foreign bonds, etc...), bond quality, and other investments in real estate, mortgages, and stocks.

Best's has more detail than Orbis, but you can get a general idea by

1. Go To Orbis and select Financial Data.
2. Select Key Financials, then global detailed format.
3. Select a Template, change industry type to insurance.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bitcoin Catching On?

We've written before about Bitcoin, the electronic currency that may be gaining some traction.

The New Yorker has a fascinating summary of the situation here. (another cool reason to use the library resources: you can't get to the full article on the open Internet) 

Bitcoin is untraceable, used by both peaceful nonconformist types and criminals, and invented by somebody or something called "Satoshi Nakamoto"- who doesn't exist of course.

It's pretty intriguing, given the ongoing debasement of official fiat currency. 

The inventor wrote a technical paper explaining Bitcoin here - it's quite interesting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Consumer Confidence Index

The Consumer Confidence Index measures how well people are feeling about the economy. People rate their current situation and expectations for the future.

Here's an interesting NPR article about how the Consumer Confidence Index is measured.

To quote the journalist from that article: 

"Well, this is an index, meaning it's a number that tells you how you're doing compared to a benchmark. And in this case, the benchmark is the average amount of confidence Americans felt in the year 1985. The Conference Board chose that year 'cause it just happened to be a sort of normal year; it wasn't particular great, it wasn't particularly awful. So they say, OK, 1985, that's normal, that's 100."

Link to our database subscription of the numbers here (you can't get to them on Google).

 What it looks like inside: