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"BY USING MARKETS TO FORECAST SOMETHING AS UNPREDICTABLE AS THE WEATHER, WE'RE TESTING THE LIMITATIONS OF FUTURES MARKETS." —Anthony Kwasnica, Penn State UPCOMING & ONGOING n NEW CHINA-SWEDEN CENTER Sweden's Stockholm Business School recently opened the Center for Research on the Chinese Economy, with the objective of strengthening ties between the Chinese and Swed- ish economies. Targeted research and regular seminars will educate the Swedish business community about China's economic environment. The establishment of the center reflects the fact that China is Sweden's most important trading partner in Asia, with more than 400 Swedish firms active in the region. The business school will run the center jointly with telecommunications company Ericsson and work closely with Chi- na's Beijing University. n BATTLING OBESITY As part of the Uni- versity of Pennsyl- vania's "Ideas in Action" initiative, Americus Reed II, marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in Philadelphia, and undergraduate students in his consumer behavior course will conduct research to develop a youth obesity prevention program. For the project, Reed has partnered with Calvin Johnson, Sec- retary of Health for Pennsylvania, and Samuel Botts, Wharton alumnus and owner of Philadelphia-based VIGORworks Fitness Center. Based on their analysis, Reed's students will design anti-obesity marketing campaigns, which they will execute at Bott's fitness facility. Then, says Reed, they'll report the results of their research to Secretary Johnson. In this instance, the market n INSTITUTE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP The Boston University School of Management in Massachusetts recently announced the creation of its Institute for Technology Entre- preneurship and Commercialization (ITEC). ITEC will bring together the university's business school, med- ical school, school of public health, law school, college of arts and sci- ences, and college of engineering to support new entrepreneurs active in a wide range of industries. n GRANT TO STUDY DEBT MANAGEMENT The Financial Services Research Program (FSRP) at the George Washington School of Business in Washington, D.C., has received a $38,500 grant from Chase Card Services to conduct research on suc- cessful debt management plans. The grant is the second from Chase to support a two-part study, "Evalu- ating the Effectiveness of Credit Counseling." Through its research, FSRP wants to improve the quality of financial literacy programs avail- able to consumers. n CANADA'S FIRST CENTER FOR GOVERNANCE The Queen's School of Business at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in Canada has launched the CA-Queen's Centre for Gover- nance, a new initiative funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. The Centre will fund faculty and doctoral research into Canadian and international corpo- rate governance issues. Its first fund- ed research project, which will be led by Queen's professor and center academic director Steve Salterio, will explore the state of internal controls at Canadian public companies. forecast, as determined by the students' bets, predicted a high of 83.95 degrees and a low of 53.40 degrees. The actual temperatures in Tucson on March 8? A high of 83 degrees and a low of 54 degrees. On average, the temperatures pre- dicted by the markets have been off by only about 6.6 percent. Not a bad record, says Anthony Kwas- nica, associate profes- sor of business eco- nomics. "Investors, political pundits, and sports fans have all used futures markets to successfully predict everything from presidential elections to World Series championships," says Kwasnica. "Our experiment is along those same lines. By using markets to forecast something as unpredictable as the weather, we're testing the limi- tations of futures markets." For more details on the experi- ment, visit prediction. Customer Surveys Can Mislead Conducting customer surveys is a time- honored strategy for companies that want to know exactly what their customers want. However, these surveys may not provide companies with the information they truly need, according to a series of seven papers by Itamar Simonson, a pro- fessor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California, and Chezy Ofir, academic director of the Davidson Research Center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. BizEd JULY/AUGUST 2007 59 Anthony Kwasnica

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