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Accenture Survey Shows 40 percent of North American Consumers Have Used Smartphones to Make a Merchant Payment, Up from 16 Percent in 2012

November 1, 2014 Comments off

Accenture Survey Shows 40 percent of North American Consumers Have Used Smartphones to Make a Merchant Payment, Up from 16 Percent in 2012
Source: Accenture

Forty percent of North American consumers have used their smartphones to make a payment at a merchant location, according to an Accenture survey of 4,000 consumers in the U.S. and Canada, up from 16 percent reported in a similar survey two years ago. Millennials and high-income consumers – household income of at least $150,000 – are the most avid adopters, with 52 percent of millennials and 55 percent of high-income consumers having used their phones as a mobile payment device.

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New From the GAO

October 31, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Government Efficiency and Effectiveness: Inconsistent Definitions and Information Limit the Usefulness of Federal Program Inventories. GAO-15-83, October 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-83
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666734.pdf

The Cost of Connectivity 2014

October 31, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Connectivity 2014
Source: Open Technology Institute (New America Foundation)

The Cost of Connectivity is an annual report that examines the cost and speed of broadband Internet access in 24 cities in the United States (U.S.) and abroad. Overall, the data that we have collected in the past three years demonstrates that the majority of U.S. cities surveyed lag behind their international peers, paying more money for slower Internet access. The report presents the 2014 Cost of Connectivity data, which was collected between July and September 2014.

The 2014 report includes:

  • A literature review of other studies that rank and compare broadband speeds, pricing, and market factors domestically and internationally, which explains how the Cost of Connectivity fits among other reports produced by international organizations and independent think tanks and contributes new data and analysis.
  • A detailed methodology, which explains both the data collection process and the methods used to conduct the analysis for our findings. The data from this and past reports is also publicly available online for researchers and other interested parties to view and download.
  • Specific findings from our data set for both home and mobile broadband pricing, as well as additional observations about the data. We include the following rankings and comparisons:

- The fastest home broadband speed available in each city,
– The fastest home broadband plan available for under $40 in each city,
– The range and median prices of broadband services in the U.S. compared to Europe,
– The cost of 3 GB of mobile data in each city,
– The mobile data cap available for under $40 in each city,
– The average cost of all plans in each city based on a range of speed or data caps,
– The average speed or data cap available in each city in a particular price range,
– The relationship between speed and price for home broadband plans in each city,
– Trends in wireless data, and
– The prevalence of data caps and modem fees.

  • Key takeaways from this analysis and further research questions based on our data and observations.

The Risks of China’s Internet Companies on U.S. Stock Exchanges

October 31, 2014 Comments off

The Risks of China’s Internet Companies on U.S. Stock Exchanges
Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

In May 2014, Alibaba, China’s leading e-commerce website, filed for a U.S.-based initial public offering (IPO) in what is expected to be one of the largest in U.S. history. The highly anticipated IPO will be just one in a recent wave of Chinese Internet companies launching IPOs in the United States. The trend has raised some misgivings among U.S. regulators about the corporate structures of these companies. To bypass Chinese government restrictions on foreign investment in the Internet sector, Chinese Internet companies use a complex and highly risky mechanism known as a Variable Interest Entity (VIE). An addendum was added to this paper on September 12, 2014.

Are Bankers Worth Their Pay? Evidence from a Talent Measure

October 31, 2014 Comments off

Are Bankers Worth Their Pay? Evidence from a Talent Measure (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

This paper investigates empirically the source of the wage premium in the finance industry. We exploit the ranking in a competitive examination to build a precise measure of talent. By using a comprehensive compensation survey among an educational elite, we show that wage returns to talent are relatively high in the finance industry. This higher sensitivity to talent explains both the finance wage premium and its evolution.

A Brief Introduction to Craft Beer

October 31, 2014 Comments off

A Brief Introduction to Craft Beer
Source: IBISWorld

A decade ago, few would have predicted that a collection of small, local breweries and brewpubs would pose a competitive threat to dominant US beer-making institutions like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. With intense merger and acquisition activity throughout the 2000s turning these massive brewers into international behemoths, the Breweries industry has become increasingly dominated by just two companies, which mainly produce pale pilsners and low-price light brews. However, over the past decade, renewed consumer interest in unique flavors and locally produced food and beverages has sparked a brewing phenomenon. The Craft Beer Production industry has grown rapidly as thousands of small breweries have opened to cater to growing demand, reenergizing competition between the world’s brewing giants in the process.

The 2014 M&A Report; Don’t Miss the Exit

October 31, 2014 Comments off

The 2014 M&A Report; Don’t Miss the Exit
Source: Boston Consulting Group

If one had to choose a single word to describe the M&A market in 2013, it would be disappointing, and indeed many market participants have used this very term. But the exasperated dealmakers have had little time to cry in their beer—they’ve been too busy. The M&A market took off like a rocket in 2014, fueled by the return of the megadeal (transactions with a value of more than $10 billion), which has been in hibernation for the last several years. The momentum of the first quarter carried into the second, setting up 2014 as a potential bellwether for the market’s longer-term evolution.

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