American Journal of Scientific Research

Issue 87
March, 2013

The Relationship between Macroeconomic Variables and the Return Index of Tehran Stock Exchange
Salman Sotoudehnia, Mohammad Daneshnia and Hossein Ahmadi Radi

The purpose of the present study is to investigate the long-term relationship between the return index growth rate and a set of macroeconomic variables including inflation, cash growth index, exchange rate, and oil income. Data are used seasonally and during 1999-2009, using the autoregressive distributed lag modeling (ARDL).
The findings indicate a long-term relationship between those macroeconomic variables and the cash return index growth rate. In the long run, there is a negative and significant relationship between cash return index growth rate, oil income, and exchange rate, while this relationship with inflation is positive and significant.
Keywords: Macroeconomic variables, return of cash index, Autoregressive Distributed Lag Modeling (ARDL), Iran.

Evaluation the Nutrient Value of Acorn Fruit Oil Extracted from Three Mediterranean Quercus Species
Walid M. Al-Rousan

The present study aimed to identify the acorn fruit oils composition of three Mediterranean oak white group species, Quercus aegilops (Q.A), Quercus infectoria (Q.I), and Quercus calliprinus (Q.C). Samples were estimated for the oil contents of acorn fruits, oil chemical and physical constants, fatty acid profile, tocopherols, phenolic compounds, and sterols. Oil content, expressed as dry weight was found to be 3.40-7.51%. The physical and chemical constants included specific gravity 0.912-0.922, refractive index 1.4529-1.4645, Specific extinction at 232 nm 2.497-2.536 and at 270 nm 1.495-2.037, iodine value 75.2-87.6, saponification value 192.6-219.4. The fatty acid compositions were determined by GLC in the methyl ester form. The most abundant fatty acids were oleic (53.3-56.1%), lenoleic 21.3-23.4%, palmitic 17.8-18.7%, lenolenic 1.5-1.6% and stearic acid 1.02-1.60%. Tocopherols content was high in the range of 1440-1783 mg/kg, ?-tocopherol constituted 84- 91% of total tocopherols. Phenolic compounds were in remarkable amounts in all the three species 84-109 mg gallic acid/kg oil. Total sterols content was between 2040-2480 mg/kg oil, ß-sitosterol being the main component comprising of 77.20-84.61%, followed by ?5-avenasterol 5.8-11.4, campesterol 3.6-4.5%, and stigmasterol 2.6-3.8. Cholesterol content was relatively high 0.42-0.55%.
Keywords: Acorn oil, Fatty acid profile, Phenolic compounds, Quercus spp., Sterols, Tocopherols.

Determinants of Online Trust: A System Oriented View
Hamid Reza Peikari, Norjaya M. Yasina and Mahmood Hussain Shah

Although the literature about website design and human-computer interaction has steadily increased in recent years, there is a lack of research in terms of winning individuals' trust in the Malaysian context. Using the most advanced techniques to design a website does not always guarantee the success of the website. The ability of the website to win users trust is a major success factor. Issues of trust in the online environment continue to hinder the growth of e-commerce in Malaysia. These characteristics make it difficult for researchers and practitioners to take measures to improve online user trust. This paper examines the concurrent influence of both security and some website design features on Malaysians’ online trust from a technology-based view. The study extends the traditional predictors of trust by suggesting a new variable named user’s verification. This study collects data from online users in Malaysia using a questionnaire. The findings indicate that technical security features, ease of navigation, information presentation mode and an individual's verification have a positive and significant influence on trust while no significant influence was found for ease of use and confidentiality assurance. The findings imply that designers should focus on trust enhancing features when designing and developing a website and communicate the technical protection capabilities of the website to improve user trust.
Keywords: Trust, Confidentiality, Security, website design, Verification, Malaysia.

Learning from Sustainable Features of Energy Efficient Housing in Iran: A Case Study of Climatic Controls in the Hot-Arid Regions of Iran (Yazd)
Mohammad Mehdi Moulaii, Mohammad Reza Bemanian, Mohammadjavad Mahdavinejad and Rana Nili

Energy efficient housing around the world is remarkably affluent with inventive techniques early dwellers used to shield themselves from the varied weather conditions they were under the influence of. Great examples of well-thought Energy efficient housing are situated in the Middle-eastern area where a dry and hot climatic zone prevails. This climate condition is most likely a good example of severe weather conditions and studying the architectural techniques that permits the formation of independent microclimates in these areas to be worth investigating. Some of these conventional techniques are being gradually rediscovered today and slowly applied to modern forms of architecture. However, sustainable characteristics generally and passive climate control especially, despite the fact that newly rediscovered, is beginning to restrict the architectural expression of the buildings. For the sake of having a current existing milieu, the traditional environment as the common architectural heritage of the Iran can be revived, along with developing new suitable architectural solutions in the view of the natural and cultural context. The Iran’s housing tradition bears the chance to be learned from the experienced and developed architectural solutions. Assessing these values along with today’s discourse, sustainable identity can be obtained from emphasizing the area. This case study investigates usage of passive heating and cooling in courtyard houses and traditional Iranian houses in the city of Yazd. These studies discover outstanding techniques and further studies of Energy efficient housing would be inspiration to the current sustainable movement. At last, this study attempts to characterize the suitable design tenets for the current housing developments and determines the ways of sustaining present precious traditional patterns.

Optimal Asset Allocation with Hidden Markov Regime Switching
Mehdi Khalaj and Mohsen Bahramgiri

Asset allocation is one of the major concepts in the portfolio management. People are able to effectively control their living costs through trading securities and allocate their un-used capitals among varied investment opportunities. For optimized control and timing of future expenses, a question comes up that how capital should be allocated appropriately among different types of securities. The aim of this study is to indicate an optimized asset allocation with Hidden Markov Regime Switching approach. This study has applied the weekly data of three stock indexes’ prices, bonds and goods during week t=1,…,T-1 and we predict both expected return vector and covariance-variance matrix for these three asset classes for week t=T, using Hidden Markov Regime Switching method. Then, we manipulate figures that are extracted from expected return vector and covariance-variance matrix in the period of t=T (first part output) and by applying the method of mean-variance optimization, we forecast the optimum weight of assets in the portfolio, which consists of three above asset classes. Finally, we discuss about optimizing the efficient frontier of the portfolio and performing statistics tests.
Keywords: Asset Allocation, Asset Classes, Regime-Switching Models, Hidden Markov Regime Switching Model, Mean - Variance Method

Economic Assessment of the Lebanese and Israeli Agricultural Sectors: Implication for a Comparative Advantage Determination
Bassam Hamdar, Hussin Hejase, George Farha, Ziad Haddad and Hassan Salman

Lebanon is a small country with a total area of 1.01 million hectares, out of which 20% is classified as arable land by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) of the United Nations (UN) .One fifth of the four million populations are engaged directly or indirectly in agriculture, 80% of which are small farmers operating an average irrigated farm size of 5 hectares.
The agricultural activity in Israel includes agriculture, forestry and fishing as defined in the Standard Classification of Economic Activities. Plant crops, forestation and gardening, raising livestock, and livestock products make up the agriculture in Israel.
This paper casts a comparative economic assessment of the Lebanese and Israeli agricultural sectors by utilizing price and cost values. Crops with lower cost of production and lower market prices constitute the main basis for a comparative advantage determination.
The most dreadful competition between the Lebanese and Israeli agricultural sectors lies in the export of citrus, apples, vegetables, and cereals, which are sold to the same foreign countries. In addition, both countries reflect the strength and weakness that show the main features of their agricultural sectors. However, the price of apples in Lebanon is ($ 0.55) less than what is in Israel ($ 0.85), and the cost of apples in Lebanon is ($0.20) while the cost in Israel is ($ 0, 25). Thus, Lebanese farmers earn ($ 0, 30) less than the Israeli farmers per Kg of apples which makes Lebanese apples more competitive than the Israeli’s in the global markets. However, Israel’s Comparative advantage spreads over the rest of agricultural products, specifically, citrus and cereals.
Keywords: Agricultural sector, Comparative advantage, Lebanon, Israel.
JEL Classification Codes: Q14; Q15; R14

Automated Fecal Parasite Detection System
R. S. Hadi, Ir. Z. Khalidin, K.H. Ghazali and M. Zeehaida

In this study, we propose a technique based on Filtration and Steady Determinations Thresholds System (F-SDTS). In this technique, some digital image processing methods such as noise reduction, contrast enhancement, segmentation, and other morphological process are applied for feature extraction stage of F-SDTS approach used in this study. The technique given in this study enables to classify two different parasite eggs from their microscopic images which are roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides ova, ALO) and whipworms (Trichuris trichiura ova, TTO). This proposed recognition method includes three stages. In the first stage, a preprocessing subsystem is realized for obtaining unique features after performing noise reduction, contrast enhancement, segmentation. In the second stage, a feature extraction mechanism which is based on five features of the three characteristics (shape, shell smoothness, and size) is used. In the third stage, Filtration with Steady Determinations Thresholds System (F-SDTS) classifier is used for recognition process using the ranges of feature values as a database to identify and classify the type of parasite. We conducted computer simulations on MATLAB environment with a GUI as a friendly user. The overall success rates are almost 93% and 94% in Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura, respectively.
Keywords: Automatic parasitic detection; image processing; MATLAB toolbox.

Dismantling the Western; Metafiction in E.L. Doctorow’s Welcome to Hard Times
Zohreh Ramin and Seyyed Mohammad Marandi

Welcome to Hard Times is a parody of the traditional western narrative. Set in the late nineteenth century Dakota County, Doctorow debunks traditional notions of the West as a land of endless opportunity, freedom and success. This he achieves through the inversion of character, setting and events in the backdrop of a cynical narrative of destruction-creation-destruction. Doctorow's metafictional technique intensifies this inversion as the highly self-conscious narrator of the novel encourages the reader to revise his appreciation of the Western myth of frontier expansion and hence directly communicates his skeptical attitude toward the optimistic myth and ultimately the American dream. The narrative shifts between the narrator's attempt at finding a firm faith in hope and the continual dismantling of his hope.
Keywords: Revision, self-conscious, parody, western, metafiction, American Dream.

Unemployment Insurance Law in Iran, a Critical Analysis
Mohammad Moghadamfard and Majid Rahmani

Unemployment Insurance is a category of Social Insurance, which supports the subsistence of those who have lost their income due to unemployment. This kind of supporting not only has been identified in law of numerous countries, but also, has been reflected in many ILO conventions. In Iran with ratification of unemployment insurance law in 1987 as temporary one, afterward, the permanent ratification of that law in 1990, this social protection has been made in Iran legal system in the shape of social security services and has been cited in article 29 of constitution. According to this law, two organizations, (Social Security Organization and Labor and Social affairs Ministry) recognized as law administrators. Nevertheless this law has hopeful points and supporting existence, it has been accompanied with many problem and challenges due to legislature`s idealistic thought during ratification of law. Some problems with this Act can be categorized as: Applying vague and ambiguous expressions and words in context of the Act, The minimum period to pay premium and the employer`s obligation to pay premium that seems not to be fair.
This work seeks to illustrate the problems and propose solutions.
Keywords: Unemployment, Unemployment Insurance, Social Insurance, Iran, Unemployment Insurance Law

Effect of Changes in Real Exchange Rate on Production and Level of Domestic Price
Mohammad Kalami, Seyed Reza Sharifi, Seyed Sina Sharifi, Raziyeh EbrahimPoor and Majid Khalili

Major aim of this study is investigation effect of real exchange rate on production and inflation in Iran economy, using vector auto regressive since1979-2006. After estimation of research models, results of impulse response function showed that in all models, positive shock in real exchange rate has negative effect on production, but in various models depend on applied variables inflation is different. Also, results of variance decomposition showed that role and share of real exchange rate being evident in description of production fluctuations and levels of domestic price in long term and middle term.
Keywords: Real exchange rate, Inflation, Production, Auto regressive, Impulse response function, Variance decomposition

Entrepreneurship as a Solution to Youth Unemployment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Abla Abdul Hameed Bokhari

The role of entrepreneurship in job creation and unemployment reduction is well established. With an unemployment rate exceeding 38% among Saudi youth, entrepreneurship could potentially play a vital role in creating self-employment for these young people. The current paper investigates the effect of entrepreneurial activities on the rate of unemployment, pointing out Saudi Arabia as a case study. To obtain this, the study aim to focus on youth unemployment as a problem has to be solved, and whether this can be done passing through entrepreneurship. A regression model is implied and estimated to test the study hypothesis, for data of 27 selected countries during 2008-2011. The results generally validate the literature findings. It displays evidence signifying that the relationship between unemployment and entrepreneurship is shielded with ambiguity. Empirical support for Schumpeter effect is found, but no evidence for refugee effect. To this aim, the youth unemployment problem would not be solved by entrepreneurship unless an active role of government and private sector to support entrepreneurial education. Youth self-employment policies must be embraced by the broader context of the country’s economic policy.
Keywords: Youth unemployment, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial activities, Self-employment.

Reproductive Functions of Female Wistar Rats Treated with Ethanol Extract of Cannabis Sativa Linn
Olorunshola, K.V, Yusuf, T, Usman, W, Zipele, M.H and Hedima, C.N

Changing pattern of cannabis use among females have been reported The aim of the study was to determine the reproductive outcome of female Wistar albino rats treated with ethanol extract of Cannabis sativa. A total of 24 female rats of 100g-130g divided into 4 groups were used. The animals were divided into two groups of non-pregnant rats (unmated) which received cannabis 65mg/kg or normal saline (2ml) for a period of two weeks and another two groups of pregnant rats which received cannabis 65mg/kg or normal saline (2ml) till they delivered from confirmation of pregnancy. At the end of the experimental period the animals were sacrificed and weight of uterus, pregnancy rate, pre-implantation and post-implantation loss, size and body weight of the litters and mean gestational age were determined. Results showed significant increase in serum progesterone concentration in the control pregnant rats compared to the Cannabis sativa-treated pregnant rats with values of (10.63 ± 1.96) and (5.07 ± 0.57) respectively (P< 0.05). Uterine weight of the control pregnant group (1.98 ± 0.26) was significantly higher than the Cannabis sativa-treated pregnant group (P < 0.05). Pregnancy rate, pre-implantation and post-implantation loss were 51.1%, 25.8% and 14.8 % in the Cannabis sativa-treated pregnant group and 42.8%, 0% and 11.9% in the control pregnant group respectively. A significant decrease in gestational age was observed in the Cannabis sativa-treated pregnant group compared with the control pregnant group with values of 21.00 ± 0.82 and 23.70 ± 0.33 respectively with p < 0.05. No difference was observed in the number of litters and weight of litters in the Cannabis sativa-treated pregnant group and control pregnant group. From the results obtained it could be suggested that Cannabis sativa administration negatively affected pregnancy outcomes in rats.
Keywords: Cannabis sativa, reproductive, uterine weight, pre-implantation loss, post-implantation loss, pregnancy rate, litter size, litter weight, gestational age.

Impact of Exchange Uncertainty on Inflation in Iran
Javad Salahi and Hamed Naserbigdeli

In this research, the relationship between exchange and inflation in Iran is conciliated with a perspective on uncertainty of exchange has been studied. The analysis of uncertainty and asymmetric in exchange results in the EGARCH has significant effect on inflation. The results show that negative shocks (bad news) have the most effect on uncertainty in the period. It is observed that liquidity has positive and meaningful effect on inflation and increasing 1% in liquidity increases inflation 0.48%. The coefficients of the nominal exchange rate and uncertainty of nominal exchange have positive and meaningful effects on inflation and cause increasing inflation. In other words, increasing 1% in the nominal exchange rate increases inflation 0.51% and increasing 1% in the uncertainty of nominal exchange increases inflation 0.01%.
Keywords: Uncertainty, exchange, inflation, EGARCH
JEL Classification Codes: E31, F31, C32

Taguchi-Grey Based Optimization of Process Parameters on AZ91D Mg Alloy by FSW
A. Ramkumar, M. Siva Pragash and Saji Varghese

As a solid state process, Friction Stir Welding is a relatively new welding process. It has many advantages when compared to traditional methods, as it is pollution free and no consumable materials are involved. In this study, the FSW of AZ91D plates were carried out to optimize the process parameters. For the investigation, experiments were conducted using the Taguchi (L18) orthogonal array and to optimize the process parameters, grey based Taguchi techniques have been adopted. The Analysis of variance was used to find out the significant parameter that affects the mechanical properties. A second order model has been developed between the process parameters and performance characteristics using the response surface methodology. The predicted optimal conditions were validated by conducting a confirmation test.
Keywords: Optimization, Taguchi Method, Grey Relation Analysis, Friction Stir Welding, Magnesium Alloy

The Impact of Training Perceptions on Employee Attitudes
Muhammad Ehsan Malik, Muhammad Mudasar Ghafoor, Muhammad Ashar and Arooje, Anum

In human resource management training is an emerging issue and has got a lot of importance. The concept of training and development is based on the social exchange theory in which a relation of give and take is developed on social exchange theory. Training has a great impact on employee attitudes like job satisfaction and organizational commitment. In this article our main focus is to study the impact of training on employee attitudes and also studied that whether employees receive motivation for training or not. We conducted a survey and our target respondents were the employees of banking sector in Pakistan which include middle level managers and employees of lower level. The survey revealed positive results that training has a positive impact on job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Keywords: Motivation for training, benefits of training, perception of employees, organizational commitment, job satisfaction.