SPP 556 Alan Deardorff
Winter 2004 Lecture: TTh 1-2:30 PM, 445 DENN

Wall Street Journal Assignments
for SPP 556


Week Print Edition* Title/Questions Date Page WSJ
This IS from this year (2004). The questions are just to help you study. You do not need to write up the answers.
Apr 12-16, 2004
"IMF, OECD See Economic Risks in Bush's Budget" Apr 15A2 LINK Proquest
  • Are the "risks" in the title expected in the short run, in the long run, or both?
  • What exactly is the "risk," and to whom?
  • What is the OECD? What kind of countries does it include?
  • Apr 5-9, 2004
    "Jobs Recovery Too Early to Call, Fed Official Says" Apr 9A2 LINK Proquest
  • What is the Fed's target federal-funds rate, how does it compare to what it was in recent years and decades, and in which direction is it likely to move it when it next makes a change?
  • How does employment today compare to when the recession ended, and when was that?
  • Does recent growth in employment raise concerns about inflation? Why or why not?
  • Mar 29 - Apr 2, 2004
    "Tale of Two Recoveries: EU and Tokyo Diverge. ECB Leaves Rates Alone..." Apr 2A7 LINK Proquest
  • What does the article mean by "restructuring," and why is it proving to be necessary in Europe now?
  • What is the objective of monetary policy at the European Central Bank? Has it achieved it?
  • How have the "benchmark interest rates" in the euro zone and the US compared? How has this mattered for exchange rates and trade?
  • Mar 22-26, 2004
    "Corporate Profits Increase 29%, Biggest Jump in Almost 20 Years" Mar 26A2 LINK Proquest
  • What two periods are being compared when the headline says profits increased 29%? How does this increase compare to the increase for the whole year of 2003 over 2002?
  • You already knew that GDP grew rapidly in 2003, while employment hardly grew at all. Is this report for profits a surprise, given those facts, or does it fit right in? What reasons are suggested for the increase in profits?
  • Would you say that this is good news or bad news? (Don't look to the article for an answer to this one, but think about it.)
  • Mar 15-19, 2004
    "Consumer Prices Show Steady Gain" Mar 18A2 LINK Proquest
  • What is the "core consumer price index" and how does it differ in definition from the usual CPI? How did it differ in the amount of price increase that it reported since January, and since a year ago?
  • Over the last year, has the rate of inflation been rising, falling, or staying about the same? Do the latest numbers suggest that this is changing?
  • What did the Fed do most recently with its "key interest rate," and what is it expected to do in coming months?
  • Mar 8-12, 2004
    "U.S. Trade Deficit Hits a Record as Exports Sag" Mar 11A2 LINK Proquest
  • What month does this article report the trade balance for? How long does it take, apparently, to assemble these data? How did imports and exports, measured separately, change from the previous month? How does our trade balance in services compare to that in goods?
  • What reasons are given for the reported drop in U.S. exports?
  • Did the U.S. import a larger quantity of oil (more barrels of it) in January than before?
  • Mar 1-5, 2004
    "OPEC to Weigh Raising Oil Output" Mar 4A2 LINK Proquest
  • What change is OPEC considering, and why?
  • What is the "targeted range" of prices that OPEC has previously pursued? How does the price now compare to that range?
  • How has the depreciation of the US dollar affected oil producers?
  • Feb 16-20, 2004
    "More Americans Are Leaving the Work Force" Feb 17B1 LINK Proquest
  • To what "common denominator" does the article attribute the movement of many Americans aged 25-54 out of the labor force?
  • For what age group has labor force participation risen during the last three years?Why?
  • What other groups are identified as particularly moving out of the labor force?
  • Feb 9-13, 2004
    "U.S. Revenue Springs a Leak" Feb 11A4 LINK Proquest
  • How do U.S. Federal tax collections today, as a share of GDP, compare to prior years?
  • Given recent tax cuts, why is the fall in tax collections called "mysterious"?
  • What are some of the suggested causes for the fall?
  • Feb 2-6, 2004
    "Slower Increases in Productivity May Spur Hiring" Feb 6A2 LINK Proquest
  • Over the last year, has productivity been growing faster or slower than in recent previous years?
  • Why is an increase in productivity good? Why is it bad? And when is each of these true?
  • What happened in the most recent quarter to labor costs, and what happened to real wages? How could both of these changes happen at the same time?
  • Jan 26-30, 2004
    "Long-Term Deficit Expected to Widen" Jan 27A2 LINK Proquest
  • By how much did the CBO (and what is the CBO?) increase its estimate of the government annual budget deficit for the coming years? What is the main reason for this increase compared to their previous estimate 3 months ago?
  • What is projected to happen to the deficit ten years from now? From what has been said by the President, is that likely?
  • What effects does the CBO suggest may result, in the long term, from this deficit?
  • Jan. 19-23, 2004 "Boon to Bush? Recession Might Predate President" Jan. 22A2 LINK Proquest
  • As currently stated, in what months did the recent recession being and end? In what way are they considering changing this?
  • Who decides these things, and how?
  • Why does it matter?
  • *NOTE: The article in the interactive edition may have a different title, even though the text is the same, and it may be missing some graphics.

    The Proquest links are to the Proquest Direct digital library that the University subscribes to, and should be available from any university computer (I think). I learned about this only recently, and I don't know how well it works. Let me know if you have trouble with it. One disadvantage: this does not seem to have any of the graphs that sometimes accompany WSJ articles, while the version on the WSJ Interactive usually does.

    The WSJ Int. links are to these articles in the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition. If you subscribed through the course, you have access to that. I'm told that you just do the following:

    1. Go to: http://info.wsj.com/student/
      or perhaps http://interactive.wsj.com/offers/student/
    2. Enter the 12-digit number found on the second line of the subscription label from your paper.

    If this doesn't work for some reason, consult the postcard that they should have sent you after you sent your payment. If you've lost that, didn't get it, or it doesn't help, call 1-800-369-2834, and they will tell you what to do.

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