Subject Research Guides

Economics: Statistics and Data


The Data Search

Take cues from the literature you already have for possible data sources. Early on, search the following resources, which will either lead you directly to data or will give you vital information about who collects the type of data you need.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
This compendia of statistics produced by the U.S. government contains basic tables summarizing the vast amount of data collected by the government. Find a table here that is related to your topic and follow the cited source to identify which agency collects the data you need. Also available in print in the Ready Reference collection at C 3.134: 2004-2005.

Lexis-Nexis Statistical
Search summaries of statistical publications, then link to the full-text of selected publications on Statistical Universe and government Web sites. This comprehensive database includes the three major statistical indexes (American Statistics Index, Statistical Reference Index, and Index to International Statistics).

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Data Archives and Data Catalogs

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), located within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization serving member colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. ICPSR provides: access to the world's largest archive of computerized social science data, training facilities for the study of quantitative social analysis techniques, and resources for social scientists using advanced computer technologies.

UK Data Archive
A large collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities, this national archive collects, preserves, and disseminates several thousand datasets to researchers. Though Carleton does not have a subscription to access their data, their online catalog is an excellent way to search for existing data.

Data and Program Library Service
This data library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a searchable catalog of data as well as a browsable archive of locally collected data.

Data Archives
This page from the web site "Political Science Resources" lists links to major international data archives.

IQSS Dataverse Network
Access and search across a huge number of social science data archives from one place, the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences Dataverse Network.

See also Data on the Net (below) for links to data libraries and archives that can be searched on the web.

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Web Guides to Data

Data on the Net
From the University of California, San Diego's searchable listing of 850 Internet sites of numeric Social Science statistical data, data catalogs, data libraries, social science gateways, addresses and more.

Economic Data Sources from the Data and Program Library Service
An annotated list of links to data-related web sites. Go to the main Internet Crossroads page and search all 720 annotated links.

Economic Growth Resources
Lots of information here, includes links to data sets available on the Internet, over the WWW or by anonymous FTP.

RFE - Resources for Economists on the Internet
A great place to begin; comprehensive.

WebEc - Data
Many data collection links from this major econ site; arrangement based generally on Journal of Economic Literature categories.

UMichigan's Statistical Resources on the Web
Comprehensive and highly recommended statistics site from the U. of Michigan Libraries-Documents Department. The Comprehensive Economics and the Foreign and International Economics sections are quite useful.

Econ Data & Links
From CAL State Fresno; current data.

Statistical Data Locators
Global coverage; links to regional IGO sites (very useful), private research databases, official statistical agencies; good for difficult to locate information; coverage for Asia is strongest; maintained by the Library of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. (Start with one of the links at the top - page looks empty at first but don't be fooled).

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Government Agencies and Nonprofit Organizations

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
The BEA, a part of the Department of Commerce, provides GDP and economic accounts data. It contains national, state and regional, and international economic data.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The U.S. Department of Labor provides a large amount of data on their web site.

Census Bureau
The best in the world.

American Fact-Finder
The Census's online gateway provides a wonderful starting point for identifying and accessing census data.

The Census Bureau has gathered their census databases together at this site. It includes links to the individual files with a description, links to documentation, and related useful information. It includes some regional information.

Economic Census
This census includes Service Industries who report on kind of business, Federal income tax status, geographic location, taxable operating receipts (revenue for tax-exempt establishments), annual and first quarter payroll, and employment for the pay period including March 12. Establishments receiving a census form provide additional data on operational and organizational status, sources of receipts, business characteristics, and industry specific measures such as exports and the number of hotel accommodations.

This large statistical database is only available by talking with a librarian.

Easy access to the full range of statistics and information produced by 70 government agencies for public use. Includes access to some regional statistics.
Regional economic data on the web. This site is supported by the Economic Development Administration, the Bureau of the Census, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Lexis-Nexis Congressional
Lexis-Nexis' Congressional Universe provides comprehensive access to U.S. legislative information, including publications, legislative histories, hearings, bills, and much more. Most coverage runs from 1970 to date.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that analyzes and researches public policy.

NBER - National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER is a privite nonprofit research organization focusing on economic research. Their goal is to support and disseminate research to decision makers of all kinds, whether public, private or academic. This page on the NBER site lists selected sources for data on the web. These data come from individual researchers as well as government agencies.

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International Data

World Bank

World Development Indicators
Statistical data for over 550 development indicators and time series data from 1960-2002 for over 200 countries and 18 country groups. Data includes social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators.
For data documentation, see reference book: World Development Indicators, Ref HC 59.15 .W656.

World Bank - Data
Their data and maps section of their web page.

Data by Country
A listing of country-level data collected by the World Bank.

United Nations

Statistical Yearbook
CC Reference HA12.5 .U63 2001
Like the Statistical Abstract of the United States, this book is a great way to find out what kind of data are collected by the UN and where to find them.

Combines 15 databases and 55 million records from different UN agencies and branches.  Topics include agriculture, employment, education, health, human development, industry, and more. Replaces the now defunct UN Common Database.

UN Statistics Division -- Unrestricted Access Databases
Find listed and described on this page all unrestricted access databases from the UN, including:

  • Demographic Yearbook
  • InfoNation
  • Millennium Indicators Database
  • National Accounts Main Aggregates Database
  • Population statistics
  • Social Indicators


Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

OECD Factbook 2008
This compendium of statistics collected by the OECD is free on the web. A good way to learn what types of data are collected by this organization and where to find them.

OECD in Figures
Full-text via ProQuest and Business Source Premier. Use the Electronic Journals List to access. Similar to the Factbook.

Though Carleton does not subscribe to most material on this large site, searching here is the best way to find full citation information for publications from the OECD. Interlibrary Loan is an option for many titles. Talk to a librarian for assistance.

European Union

European Union Encyclopedia and Directory 2005
CC Reference HC241.2 .E8334
This reference book contains basic country statistics tables, and can help one identify which agencies collect which data, and how those data will be organized on eurostat.

Detailed and comparable statistical data at EU level. See also the official web site of the European Union.

International Monetary Fund

International Financial Statistics. Yearbook
CC Ref HG 3881 .I627
Library has 1979 to the present. Back issues are shelved in general stacks, second floor.

International Financial Statistics. Monthly
CC Ref HG 3881 .I626
Library has 1948 to the present. Back issues are shelved in general stacks, second floor.

International Financial Statistics Online
Time series data back to 1948. Best used in concert with at least one paper issue for documentation and to understand the numbering system. See Kristin for help using this database.

Balance of Payment Statistics Yearbook
CC Ref HF 1014 .I6
Library has from 1981 to the present. Back issues are shelved in general stacks, second floor.

Government Finance Statistics Yearbook
CC Ref HJ 101 .G68
CC Ref HJ 101 .G682 CD-Rom (March 2006
Library has from 1980 to the present. Back issues are shelved in general stacks, second floor. The CD-Rom provides time series data from the yearbooks.

Direction of Trade Statistics. Yearbook
CC Reference HF91 .D574
Library has from 1974 to the present. Back issues are shelved in general stacks, second floor.

Directon of Trade Statistics. Quarterly
CC Reference HF91 .D57
Library has from 1994 to the present. Back issues are shelved in general stacks, second floor.

United States Census

International Data Base - Census Bureau
Data band for 227 countries plus some useful links.

Government Statistical Agencies

Governments on the WWW
Quick links to national, regional, and international government web pages. Close competitors include:

International Organizations

Yahoo Regional: Countries

Librarian's Index to the Internet: Government

Guides to International Data

International Agencies and Information on the Web
Intergovernmental agencies, foreign governments, statistics, U.S. policy, and more.

Penn World Tables
"...a set of national accounts economic time series covering many countries...."

Western European Studies Section
Links to all aspects of this region that were selected by librarian specialists; includes historical sources.

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This Research Guide By:

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