Forecasting Cost Escalation
on Large Infrastructure Investments

Forecasting Cost Escalation on Large Infrastructure Investments Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics One of the most misunderstood topics associated with costing on large infrastructure projects involves cost escalation; it seems to be a problem with no definitive solution. In fact, last week I read an article published in a prominent engineering and construction trade journal by a senior cost estimator with a Top 10 ENR construction firm discussing how they handle cost escalation on large infrastructure projects. I could not help but chuckle at the, as I say, “useless infinite wisdom,” the estimator offered for the taking  »

Posted on June 20, 2018

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Construction Output and its impact on the Economy
Predicting the Next Economic Correction

This article is Part 1 of a two-part series titled, Predicting the Next Economic Correction. Part 1 includes discussions associated with construction output via GDP as it relates to both state GDP and US GDP, while Part 2 includes the development of a simple model using construction material and labor costs as a predictor of the pending economic correction in the United States. Part 1 is available herein, and Part 2 is available separately. Construction Output and its impact on the Economy, Predicting the Next Economic Correction Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics The US construction industry has  »

Posted on June 11, 2018

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Multivariate Time Series Modeling
as a means of Rhyming the Reason to Harbor Deepening for Post-Panamax Shipping

Multivariate Time Series Modeling Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics The case for the PORT of JACKSONVILLE as presented by the economist who conducted the financial and economic argument for harbor deepening at JAXPORT, Dr. Herbert Barber. The US maritime industry is under definitive transition as ports scramble to deepen harbors in satisfying container and vessel requirements of inbound and outbound post-Panamax ships. As anticipated, such deepening has not been without immense controversy, controversy where the polarity could not be greater. As with many publicly funded infrastructure projects, deepening of the St. Johns River for the Port of Jacksonville will  »

Posted on May 29, 2018

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Energy Infrastructure
Investment or blurred mess?

Energy Infrastructure Investment, or blurred mess? Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics Energy has long been touted as an investment; such occurs at every level across multiple mediums—from politicians to engineers, across the front page of energy trade journals to referred academic journal papers to board rooms; and it occurs within every economy. Energy, and in our case here, electricity; without it we accomplish little. Through it we plan, we design, and we construct a better tomorrow. Arguably, outside of merely a couple other catalysts for economic growth, electricity has no equal; it reigns supreme in its seeming  »

Posted on May 23, 2018

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Analyzing America’s Infrastructure Need
One too many Experts

Analyzing America’s Infrastructure Need One too many Experts Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics Politicians, engineers, and others tout infrastructure as a means of promoting economic growth. Unfortunately, however, most politicians and engineers do not understand the complexities of ensuring such growth occurs, let alone proving it through what should be sophisticated econometric means of analyses, modeling, and forecasting. Indeed, it is true; today we have politicians elected by touting such promises and engineers increasing their profits by claiming such increases, yet neither making claims they can substantiate. And it is costing clients billions. For example, the Southern  »

Posted on May 10, 2018

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Evaluating Risk on Infrastructure Investments

Risk. The word has become so common today that we give it little consideration. Everyone uses it, from the Main Street to Wall Street. The problem, of course, is that so few people understand it. Few understand it, and even fewer know how to evaluate it. Just this morning I read an article regarding infrastructure risk produced by a popular consulting firm, and it became obvious in the second paragraph that the author had little concept of risk, let alone how to evaluate it. It quickly became my biased opinion that he had likely always worn wingtips, while having never  »

Posted on April 13, 2018

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Statistical Causality

Causality remains a misunderstood construct that can be cumbersome even to seasoned researchers, not to mention persons operating in non-scientific fields. Though used extensively in areas associated with advanced econometrics, perhaps the concept is most misunderstood in the medical community, where the term is grossly misused. For example, I have been dealing with some health issues in recent months, and in so doing, I have witnessed misuse of the word “cause” on countless occasions; and when cause seems to be a bit of a stretch, the word association is used. So, let’s digress from our normal topic of engineering economic  »

Posted on April 11, 2018

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Statistical Sampling

Statistical Sampling Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics Perhaps one of the most misunderstood terms today is sampling. The term comes up particularly during election seasons, but of course sampling is used in numerous fields every day. In any regard, most people seem to have a poor understanding of sampling, even in its most rudimentary form. The idea behind sampling is to allow a subset of a population to represent the population. For example, we would likely prefer to investigate a subset, or sample, from a population of ten million people rather than investigate all ten million in  »

Posted on February 27, 2018

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Debating the Cost of Infrastructure
Investment or Superfluous Spending

Debating the Cost of Infrastructure Investment or Superfluous Spending Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics Donald J. Trump, president of these United States of America, has declared war on established politics as we know it. To some extent, every politician does. Campaigns are won or lost on the backs of what sometimes become broken promises. As for President Trump, his claim to fame in political circles and the American public was gained by promising to dismantle deeply seated governmental and political structures that inhibit, and often prohibit, the United States from moving forward. He also staked his claim  »

Posted on August 7, 2017

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Economic Output, Poised for Decline
Construction Industry Braces for Impact

Economic Ouptut, Poised for Decline Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics The US construction industry has withstood the test of time. As need has increased over every industry sector, the construction industry has stood in the gap over the decades to plan, design, and construct facilities, roadways, highways, bridges, damns, airports, power plants, manufacturing plants, office buildings, and a host of other structures. Suffice it to say, engineering and construction professionals should be proud, as civilizations have literally risen and fallen upon their backs—so much so that we can comfortably presume that the construction industry will never fade  »

Posted on July 21, 2017

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Multiple Regression
as a Decision Modeling Technique

Multiple Regression as a Decision Modeling Technique Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics Multiple regression is a relatively simple statistical technique that can be used to make predictive decisions using one continuous dependent variable and two or more independent variables, with the independent variable usually being continuous, or some form of categorical variable that is coded. The technique can be used for many type analyses, I suppose, but as presented here, we will use multiple regression as a tool for developing models through which we render decisions. That said, know that multiple regression is merely an extension of  »

Posted on July 7, 2017

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Economic Effect of Electricity
on the World’s Least Developed Nations

Economic Effect of Electricity on the World’s Least Developed Nations Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD Xicon Economics This research is reprinted here by permission from the author. Abstract The energy-economics nexus is a complex econometric paradigm that allows for the existence of unidirectional and bidirectional relationships across continuums demonstrating both effect and causality. To this end, however, the scientific literature remains ambiguous, with studies demonstrating effect and causality among variables, coupled with a host of studies that do not demonstrate effect or causality among variables, let alone direction. Understanding this paradigm becomes more important in less developed economies as  »

Posted on May 10, 2017

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Infrastructure Spending
as a means of Increasing Economic Output

Infrastructure Spending as a means of Increasing Economic Output Herbert M Barber, Jr, PhD, PhD is the chief executive officer of Xicon Economics, a highly-specialized consulting firm with expertise in economics, research, and statistics. Dr. Barber is one of approximately 10 experts in the world specializing in leveraging large-scale economic endeavors in industry and infrastructure as a means of increasing economic output in economies. Dr. Barber holds 5 earned academic degrees from Georgia Southern University, Florida State University, and Mississippi State University. Dr. Barber can be contacted at Infrastructure spending continues to be touted as a means of increasing  »

Posted on April 27, 2017

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Time Series Forecasting

Time series analysis is a statistical technique economists, researchers, and other analysts use to model and subsequently forecast data, or moreover, other times series, where times are discrete (t=1,2,3…n) or continuous (t>0). It is most useful on large data sets, and consists of three primary components, including seasonality, trend, and random irregularity—or noise. A simple example of a time series, without any analyses, is depicted in the figure below: But in and of itself, this series tells us little; it merely depicts unemployment rates from January 2011, through September 2016, in Beaufort County, South Carolina. However, given what appears to  »

Posted on April 26, 2017

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Economic Impact vs Feasibility

The Problem Most consulting firms use the term feasibility; they do so frequently. Planning firms, architectural firms, engineering firms, economic development firms, and so-called “research” firms use the term. Transportation agencies, economic development agencies, port authorities, transit authorities, environmental agencies, and countless other agencies at the local, state, and federal level use the term. Feasibility is thrown around from the board room to the boiler room; with every relationship we develop with clients and potential clients, the term feasibility is used. The problem, of course, is that so few people really understand feasibility—and this includes every group represented above and  »

Posted on January 6, 2017

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Validity & Reliability
in Survey Research

One of the most troublesome areas we see people having when conducting survey research is their lack of understanding when it comes to validity and reliability. Granted, neither are an easy task; they can be, and often should be, arduous undertakings. Without validity and reliability, the researcher’s efforts are in vain, albeit most often unknown to the researcher. In fact, in our experience very few persons have a sound understanding of validity and reliability. Such especially holds true for those attempting to address validity and reliability without having first earned their stripes through solid PhD programs with strong research design  »

Posted on January 5, 2017

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