Subject Research Guides

Economics: Literature

What you'll find in this guide:

General Research Information

Use this link for help on how to do general research at Carleton, including:

  • Bridge searches
  • subject headings
  • print reference collection
  • indexes and electronic databases
  • web searches
  • citing

If you ever have questions, stop by the Research/IT desk in the library, or contact Kristin Partlo via email, AIM, phone, or just drop by.

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Print Reference Collection

Use these sources early in your research process to get an overview of a topic or to identify synonyms or related terms that will apply to your topic. Later, return to these sources to clarify concepts or define new vocabulary. These sources also include bibliographical references that may prove helpful. All of these sources are located in the Reference Collection.

Library of Congress call numbers to browse in the print reference collection or in the general collection for Economics:

HA.........General Statistical Reources
HC.........Economic Policy and Conditions
HG.........Business and Finance

This is only a partial list of the call numbers pertaining to Economics. For a complete listing, go to the Library of Congress Classification Outline, provided by the Cataloging Policy and Support Office of the Library of Congress.

Selected titles from the print reference collection

The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics.
ref HB61 .N49 1987
Palgrave's, which covers contemporary and historical economic thought, usually presents several viewpoints on each topic.

World Development Report.
ref HC 59.7 .W659
Annual volumes focus on a specific topic.

World Development Indicators.
ref HC 59.15 .W56
Annual volumes focusing on international development statistics. Also available online!

Encyclopedia of American Economic History.
ref folio HC103 .E52
Seventy-two essays divided by broad categories; includes essays by time period.

International Financial Statistics Yearbook, 1979 to date.
ref HG 3881 .I626
Data covering banking and finance: prices, production, labor, international transactions, government finance and accounts for countries of the world. Also available online.

The Europa Yearbooks.  Also available online!
Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co.
Current year shelved in Reference. Excellent current information on countries. Volumes covering areas have more detailed information but may not be as current. Entries include overviews by topic followed by some statistical tables and other information dealing with the country.

The Europa World Yearbook, 1959 - to date.
Ref JN 1 .E85

Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States,1992 to date.
Ref HC 244 .A1 E29

Africa South of the Sahara, 1971 to date.
Ref DT 351 .A37

The Far East and Australasia, 1969 to date.
Ref DS 1 .F3

The Middle East and North Africa, 1967/68 to date.
Ref DS 49 .M5

South America, Central America and the Caribbean, 1986 to date.
Ref F 1406.5 .S68

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Newspapers and Trade Journals

Newspapers are available to the Carleton community through the library in three formats: online, in paper, and in microform. The library only receives a few titles in paper form, which are kept on the 4th floor in the Rookery for about a month until we receive the microform. Access to historical papers is assured through the microform version of these titles and many more, which are kept on the 3rd floor.

Online, the library subscribes to hundreds of titles, which you access through the databases listed below allowing you to search across many papers at once. If you need to know if the library has access to a particular paper, search the Journals List.

Trade publications are also accessible largely through the databases below.

**Comps Writers:
Looking to literature aimed at a popular audience is a good way to explore possible topics and is an efficient way to assess the state of what is known on a given topic. Rather than moving from one in-depth research article to the next, start with some of these sources to find news articles, secondary reports of research, and overviews.

LexisNexis Academic
Enormous collection of full-text newspaper and magazine articles. A great place to search national, international, and local newspapers (note: does not include the Wall Street Journal) as well as publications like the Economist and Business Week.

ProQuest Newsstand
Full-text from 1995 to the present for major national and regional papers such as:

  • New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Atlanta Journal/Constitution
  • Barron's
  • The Boston Globe
  • The Guardian
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • The Washington Post.

Note: This is the only database that allows you to access the Wall Street Journal. LexisNexis only includes abstracts.

Business Source Premier
Includes citations, abstracts, and some full-text for business-related journals. Use this database to find articles from peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, and business magazines. Also use it to find country economic reports, industry reports and yearbooks, and market research reports.

Business and Industry
Indexes over 1300 trade magazines, newsletters and business dailies from 1994 to the preseint. It includes abstracts and some full-text. Use the Find It button to determine Carleton access.

Regional Business News
Full-text from over 50 sources of regional news.

LexisNexis Business
Once in LexisNexis, select 'Business' from the menu on the left. Full-text of business articles from magazines, newspapers, and journals as well as industry and market news from many sources can be found here. Some of the options you'll see on this page are:

  • Company Profiles
  • Company Financial Reports
  • Directories
  • SEC Filings and Reports

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Professional literature in journals

The professional literature that makes up the body of knowledge in Economics is primarily published in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals. You are familiar with many of these journals through your course readings. Examples of scholarly Economics journals:

  • American Economic Review
  • Journal of Political Economy
  • Journal of Economic Perspectives
  • Journal of Economic Literature (JEL)
  • Quarterly Journal of Economics
  • Econometrica
  • Review of Economics and Statistics
  • Review of Economic Studies

Often, the best way to identify articles of interest in these journals is to search a bibliographic database by topic or author (see next section).

To find out if the library subscribes to a particular journal, search for the title of the journal in the Journals List. For more information on accessing articles, see "Finding the Article: Where is the Text?"

**Comps writers and anyone writing a literature review:

Trick #1: Find review/survey articles

Step A: Use the JEL subject classification system and the EconLit Thesaurus to identify subject terms. Perform a search in EconLit for these as descriptors.

Step B: Use the Index of Journal Titles in EconLit to perform a search for Journal of Economic Perpsectives OR Journal of Economic Literature.

Step C: Use the History search in EconLit to combine the first two searches.

Step D: Browse the results for relevant review/survey articles.

Trick #2: Mine bibliographies

With review articles, or theoretical or empirical articles you've already found, search the Social Sciences Citation Index for other articles that cite them. Pay close attention, also, to possible data sources.

Trick #3: Use the articles you've already found to search more effectively in bibliographic databases and research web sites.

When you search for articles, don't rely strictly on keyword searches.

Authors: After identifying important articles in your area, search for more articles by those authors.

Descriptors: Also, search in databases like EconLit for an articles you've already read. Look at the descriptors used by the database to describe it. Perform new searches based on those descriptors.

Organizations: Organizations publish reports, too. If you identify a relevant organization, like the Mediamark (a company that surveys the public), for example, search for that organization as an author.

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Bibliographic Databases and Indexes

Databases, indexes and abstracts give you an organized entry point into periodical literature. Carleton does not own every journal title indexed in the electronic databases the library offers. Use the Find It button or check the Journals List to see if the library owns the journal title you are looking for. If we don't, take advantage of our Inter-Library Loan Services.

EconLit, 1969 to date.
The main discipline index of journals and over 500 collective volumes, plus books, dissertations, and working papers.

This hybrid index and full-text journal archive provides electronic access to the core journals in many academic fields. A smaller number of journals are included here than in other databases, though they are often considered the core journals. Articles are provided in full-text from the first issue to five years ago.

SSCI - Social Science Citation Index (via Web of Science), 1979 to date.
Provides access to current bibliographic information and cited references, covering more than 1,700 of the world's leading social sciences journals in a broad range of disciplines. A powerful capability is cited reference searching, a process whereby one tracks the number of times a specific work has been cited or referenced in other works.

Current Contents
The contents and abstracts of scholarly journals, and the most up-to-date indexing of recently published articles. Interdisciplinary, so search carefully.

ProQuest Digital Dissertations
Searching for dissertations is a helpful step in early background work as you are trying to identify a researchable topic for comps or a substantial research paper. Dissertations often include very precise discussions of methodology -- more so than published articles -- as well as exhaustive literature reviews. ProQuest Digital Dissertations is an index of over 2 million doctoral and masters' theses and provides abstracts, previews, and (for nearly 500,000 dissertations) full-text downloads.

Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) includes articles, books, conference proceedings, government documents, book chapters, and statistical directories about public affairs. Includes indexing of the National Journal and Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. This may be selective indexing rather than comprehensive indexing.

LexisNexis -- Congressional
Indexing and selected full text for Congressional publications (hearings, bills, members of Congress, committees), laws and regulations, hot topics, links.

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Economics Portals and Think Tanks

RFE - Resources for Economists on the Internet
A great, comprehensive place to begin; includes links to data sets.

WebEc: Resources for Economists on the Internet
One of the basic sites for economists with annotated and evaluated lists of web sites.

Think Tanks
Many research organizations publish their reports on their web sites. The publications of some think tanks are frequently cited in the scholarly literature (hint: using the citation index to see how frequently a think tank is cited is a good way to gauge whether you should use its reports or not). The link above leads to a list of directories of think tanks.

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Working Papers

In your searches in EconLit, the portals listed above, and think tanks, you may encounter citations to working papers. Contact Kristin if you want to access these -- sometimes it can be tricky, but don't assume you have to buy them.

The NBER working paper series is an important resource in economics. Though the library does not subscribe, it is possible to request specific working papers through Interlibrary Loan. Once in the ILL system (login from the library's home page), use the "Photocopy Request" option. Enter "NBER Working Papers Series" as the title, the NBER document number (e.g. w5741) as the Volume, the month and year, and just type "all" in the Inclusive Pages field. The ISSN is important to include, which is 08982937. The rest is self explanatory. If all goes well, you will receive an e-mail in a week or so with a link to an electronic version of the paper.

Search thousands of working papers at the following sites:

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    This Research Guide By:

    • Kristin Partlo
      • Reference & Instruction Librarian for Social Sciences & Data
      • x7668
      • Gould Library 466