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Data Resources for Economists: International Data Sources

This guide is a collection of links to commonly-used data resources favored by Economists.

Census Data, Demographics, and Population Surveys

Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)
The DHS is a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development to promote better gathering of survey data on health issues pertaining to family life and reproductive health in developing countries. Aggregated data from DHS surveys are readily accessible via the STATcompiler interface that allows for on-line visualization and for download in tabular form. Microdata files from the surveys are also available upon registration and application for access. The University of Minnesota's IPUMS project has also produced the IPUMS DHS collection of harmonized extracts of data from DHS surveys.

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) International
The IPUMS International project at the University of Minnesota provides access to samples from population censuses in various countries, with the data harmonized and standardized for easier cross-national comparisons. The list of available samples is located at

International Household Survey Network (IHSN)
The IHSN is devoted to improving "the availability, accessibility, and quality of survey data within developing countries, and to encourage the analysis and use of this data by national and international development decision makers, the research community, and other stakeholders." As part of this mission, the IHSN has developed a very useful catalog of household surveys that covers both national and international surveys. The catalog allows users to filter by country, date range, and availability, and to search through variable descriptions and question texts.

Economic Data

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Macroeconomic and Financial Data
The IMF's data library covers topics such as investment flows, monetary aggregates, economic output, commodity prices, exchange rates, public finances, financial institutions and markets, and both public and private debt. The available databases include the Balance of Payments Statistics, the Direction of Trade Statistics, the Government Finance Statistics, and the International Financial Statistics.

OECD iLibrary (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)
The OECD iLibrary is an online interface that provides full-text access to OECD studies, periodicals, and dozens of statistical databases. The topical range of the iLibrary is considerable and covers areas such as agricultural policies, environmental indicators, social expenditures, labour markets, national accounts, foreign trade and FDI, and various industry-level data. While its focus is on wealthier developed countries, the iLibrary also includes OECD reports and publications on selected non-member countries such as the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. This resource is also available via Databases at Emory.

United Nations Commodity Statistics Trade Database (Comtrade)
The UN's Comtrade database is a good source for commodity-specific bilateral trade data. Users can create their own extracts of data for both value and quantity of trade using different industrial classification codes and download those extracts for later use. Comtrade now also includes data on trade in services. This resource is also available via Databases at Emory.

UNCTAD Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) maintains a database on FDI statistics, including flows, stocks, and participation in international investment-related agreements. It covers the years 1970 onward and allows users to download data into Microsoft Excel. UNCTAD's World Investment Reports are another useful source for FDI flows and stocks.

World Development Indicators (World Bank)
The World Development Indicators provide convenient access to hundreds indicators on over 200 countries and territories. Data are available annually from 1960 forward, with variation across countries and indicators. The database is part of the Bank's Data Catalog of statistical databases and other data collections. The WDI is also accessible via Databases at Emory and on CD-ROM in the Data Center.

Political Data

Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS)
The CCAPS project, which is hosted by the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT-Austin, is devoted to the study of the relationship between climate change and international/internal stability on the African continent. The project has produced various data collections such as the Social Conflict Analysis Database (SCAD), which provides event-level data on riots, coups, strikes, and other instances of social unrest, and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED), which provides event-level data on various types of armed conflict.

Database of Political Institutions
This database was put together in part by Phillip Keefer at the World Bank and provides data on the political institutions and structures of different countries in the world from 1975 to 2012. The data are also available here, with coverage up through 2015. Please note the authors' preferred format for citing their data.

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Data Collections
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), which is funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security, is devoted to " utilizing state-of-the-art theories, methods, and data from the social and behavioral sciences to improve the understanding of the origins, dynamics, and social and psychological impacts of terrorism." As part of its work, it has assembled data collections on topics such as individual terrorist events, the organizational behavior of ethnic groups in the Middle East and North Africa, profiles of individual perpetrators of terrorist events in the United States, public opinion in Muslim-majority countries, and profiles of individual terrorist organizations. START's data collections are available via the START Terrorism Archive Dataverse.

Political Risk Services (PRS) Group Data
The Data Center's holdings include data resources from the PRS Group and other sources that measure "risk" in the form of political (in)stability and institutional quality (e.g. levels of corruption).

Quality of Government (QOG) Institute
The QOG Institute is hosted by members of the Department of Political Science at Göteborg University in Sweden and is devoted to "the causes, consequences and nature of 'good governance.'" The Institute has created four collections of data on governance: a broad collection of governance indicators that is global in coverage; a more narrow collection that focuses on social policy in wealthier countries; data from expert surveys on politicization and professionalization of public administration in individual countries, and a new data collection on perceptions of corruption in individual regions within EU members. The data are compiled from multiple sources, including the Polity Project, the Cingarelli-Richards Human Rights Data, Transparency International, Freedom House, various international organizations, and datasets produced by various academics. The QoG data are available in SPSS, Stata, and comma-delimited (.csv) formats.

Social Indicators - Education, Equality, and Health

Education Policy and Data Center
The Education Policy and Data Center provides access to education measures and indicators from a range of sources such as administrative records, household surveys, and assessment tests. Users can search for data by country, topic, or level of education.

Gender Equality Data and Statistics
The World Bank's collection of gender-equality data is " a one-stop shop for gender information, catering to a wide range of users and providing data from a variety of sources." Amongst the resources here are collections of macro- and micro-level data on topics such as control of economic assets and financial inclusion and an extensive set of gender-themed indicators that can be downloaded in bulk or queried by country, year, and indicator.

Health, Nutrition and Population Data and Statistics
HealthStats is "the World Bank’s comprehensive database of Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) statistics," covering topics such as reproductive health, population growth, communicable and non-communicable diseases, and health facilities. The data are accessible through various means, such as via an interface that allows for both queries and bulk downloads and via tools to break health data down by household wealth.

World Bank Poverty and Equity Data
The World Bank has brought together a variety of datasets pertaining to the study of poverty, income inequality, and income distribution, along with other resources relevant for international development and economics. The many potentially-useful resources listed within this site include the World Income Inequality Database and PovcalNet. The site is part of the Bank's broader collection of poverty indicators. Other data resources are available via the Bank's "Poverty and Inequality" research program. Be warned - the World Bank tends to change addresses for websites without warning.

Data Services

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