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Research Notes–July 2005

Featuring research published in June 2005

Macroeconomics

A Primer on Social Security
EconSouth Q2 2005
An important topic in the U.S. policy arena is the issue of Social Security reform. Some fundamental misunderstandings about the current financial condition of the system have complicated the discussion. This article clarifies Social Security’s financial situation and provides a framework for evaluating alternative reform proposals.

Dollar Appreciated Slightly Again in May
In May the average monthly value for the trade-weighted dollar index of 15 major currencies tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta increased 0.5 percent.

Finance

Putting a Name with a Face: Community Banks Count on Customer Service
EconSouth Q2 2005
Despite some dire predictions, community banks have not been driven out of the financial services market by megabanks. On the contrary, their personalized services and attention to their customers’ needs have allowed them to thrive.

Small Business Credit Scoring and Credit Availability
Working Paper 2005-10
The authors evaluate the existing research on small business credit scoring and credit availability and relate these findings to a number of research and public policy issues.

Regional Economics

Challenges Loom Large for Southeastern Textile Producers and Cotton Growers
EconSouth Q2 2005
Southeastern textile and cotton have seen their once-dominant positions weakened. How these longtime mainstays of the regional economy fare in the future depends on how well they adjust to the global marketplace.

Tri-Cities Adjusting to Employment Shifts
EconSouth Q2 2005
Like many communities across the country, the Tri-Cities area—compromising Bristol, Tenn. and Va., Johnson City, Tenn., and Kingsport, Tenn.—is making the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to one increasingly reliant on service jobs.

Earnings on the Information Technology Roller Coaster: Insight from Matched Employer-Employee Data
Working Paper 2005-11
Analysis of data on the 1990s information technology (IT) boom and bust reveals that while workers leaving IT for a non-IT industry suffered a wage penalty, they generally benefited from having had IT experience.

International Economics

China’s Economic Emergence
EconSouth Q2 2005
China is no longer a sleeping giant. The country is showing its rapidly growing economic clout especially in the trade arena, where it has become the world’s third-largest trading nation.