Social and Economic Trend Analysis Offers User-Friendly "Paper of the Week"

AMES, Iowa -- Economic statistical analysis is often a key tool in making sound business decisions. Iowa State University's Office of Social and Economic Trend Analysis (SETA) now makes data as easy to find -- and read -- as the click of a mouse through its "Iowa Research Paper of the Week."

Peter Orazem

Peter Orazem

SETA researchers study and disseminate information on social, economic and demographic trends in support of community and regional analysis. Each week, the ISU professors who comprise the SETA project staff identify a report that is timely and important to economic development in Iowa. The paper can be found from SETA's home page at Previous papers are archived alphabetically by topic.

This week's paper, "The Economic Impact Potential of Retail Trade in Story County, Iowa," provides a statistical analysis for the debate surrounding a proposed new mall for the Ames area.

Each paper links to a one-page, reader-friendly abstract, along with a link to the complete paper for a more detailed analysis.

"We want to provide economic data in a format that anyone can understand and use, so they can apply it to issues that are currently relevant to them," said Peter Orazem, University Professor of economics, and professor-in-charge of SETA. "If someone wants more details about the data or methodology, they can then go to the complete research paper."

The goal of the SETA researchers is to add unbiased and reliable information to the public debate on policy issues.

"We hope that we may have better informed public debate on policy issues of the day, and can increase the public's knowledge of the increasing volume of information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Commerce and other agencies," said Orazem. "We hope we can improve public access to University researchers -- either by suggesting questions that need to be investigated, or by providing a reference that people can approach for advice on how to investigate a problem themselves."

Other papers currently on the web site include "Broadband Access, Telecommuting and the Urban-Rural Digital Divide," "Do Public Sector Employees in Iowa Earn More Than Private Sector Employees?," "Manufacturing Trends in the U.S., Iowa, and Bordering States," "Model Economic Analysis: An Economic Impact Assessment of an Ethanol Production Facility in Iowa," and "Tax Increment Financing Growth in Iowa."

The site is updated with a new "Paper of the Week" each Monday.

"We will be asking colleagues engaged in policy relevant research in other departments to propose papers to add to the list, so we hope we will not run out," said Orazem.

You may also contact Orazem at