Data themes: Economic trends

Resources for researching economic trends may include data from subscription databases, publicly available data portals or archived academic projects. Some suggestions are:

A database allowing access to statistics, data and articles on business research topics. ABI/INFORM Global covers business conditions, economic trends, corporate strategy and tactics, the competitive landscape and a wide range of similar subjects.

The World trade database developed by the CEPII at a high level of product disaggregation with original data provided by the United Nations Statistical Division (COMTRADE database). BACI is constructed using an original procedure that reconciles the declarations of the exporter and the importer. This harmonization procedure enables to extend considerably the number of countries for which trade data are available, as compared to the original dataset.

You can access BACI from a University networked computer. Users of BACI have to testify that their organization or themselves have an active UN Comtrade subscription to download BACI.

EMIS: Emerging Markets Information Service
A source of data, statistics and news on emerging economic markets in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Updated daily.

Eurostat New Cronos Database  
Includes statistics on industry, trade consumption and living conditions. Collection of data includes categories for agriculture and fisheries, economy and finance, industry, trade and services and transport.

Family Expenditure Survey
A survey which ran from 1961-2001 and provided information on household and personal incomes, recurring payments, and included a detailed 14-day expenditure record.

Global Financial Data 
Comprehensive economic and financial database covering 150 countries and 6500 different data series. Unusually, this includes time-series (i.e. historical) data such as data on stock markets from 1690, exchange rates from 1590, interest rates from 1700, commodities from 1500, and inflation from 1264.

Groningen Growth and Development Centre (GGDC)
A platform for research on economic growth and development. This research is largely based on a range of comprehensive databases on indicators of growth and development that the Centre compiles and maintains on a regular basis.

  • EU KLEMS Database: a study of productivity in the European Union aimed at creating a database on measures of economic growth, productivity, employment creation, capital formation and technological change at the industry level for all European Union member states from 1970 onwards.

  • Historical National Accounts: the data hub on Comparative Historical National Accounts provides information on GDP, including an industry breakdown for the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Maddison Historical Statistics: measures economic performance for different regions, time periods and subtopics.

  • Penn World Table (PWT) database: a database with information on relative levels of income, output, input and productivity, covering 182 countries between 1950 and 2014.

  • Productivity Level Database: provides data on relative prices and labour productivity across countries for 42 major economies and up to 35 industries in 2005.

  • 10-sector Database: provides a long-run internationally comparable dataset on sectoral productivity performance in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Variables covered in the data set are annual series of value added, output deflators, and persons employed for 10 broad sectors.

  • World Input-Output Database (WIOD): provides time series of world input-output tables. Data is included for more than 40 separate countries covering +/- 85% of world GDP. A 'rest of the world' region is included for the remaining countries. Additionally time series of national and international supply and use tables are included .

IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO)  
The database contains selected macroeconomic data series from the statistical appendix of the World Economic Outlook report, presenting IMF staff analysis and projections of economic developments at the global level, in major country groups and in many individual countries. Can be used to find data on national accounts, inflation, unemployment rates, balance of payments, fiscal indicators, trade for countries and country groups (aggregates), and commodity prices whose data are reported by the IMF. Updated twice a year, annual data for approximately 180 countries are available from 1980 to the present, and projections are given for the next five years.

Access is available through the IMF data portal, and further user manuals and support are provided.

Regular deposits into the UK Data Archive of this database means the UK Data Service may also be used as an alternative access point and will be useful for researchers already using the UKDS. Stat analytical tool or other UKDS collections.

Index of Economic Freedom (Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)
In cooperation with the Wall Street Journal, the Heritage Foundation releases an annual report on world-wide economic freedom, scoring countries on a 1 to 5 index for factors such as corruption, trade barriers, the rule of law, and the black market. A profile for each country is provided. The web site includes HTML and PDF versions of the print publication, plus an online interface allowing searches and comparisons between countries from 1995 onward. The data can also be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
A major archive of social science research data that holds information predominately relating to the United States but also has some additional collections. Data is available on a range of topics including economic behaviour, economic indicators and consumer surveys.

Montevideo-Oxford Latin American Economic History Database (MOxLAD)
A statistical series for more than forty economic and social indicators in Latin America from 1900 to 2000. It is designed as a resource for economic and social historians.

National Statistics Time Series Data
Data relate to economics, trade, employment and industry; each 'publication' or 'dataset' is a group of related time series that mirrors a National Statistics printed publication, e.g. The Pink Book which contains series on the UK Balance of Payments. The databank contains monthly, quarterly and annual datasets. Monthly datasets include Labour Market Statistics, Financial Statistics, Economic Trends plus Retail, Consumer and Producer Price Indices. Quarterly datasets include National Accounts, Acquisitions and Mergers, Consumer Trends, GDP and Trade by Industry. The Annual Datasets are The Pink Book, the Blue Book, Share Ownership and Economic Trends Annual Supplement.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Statistics  
A major source for global monthly, quarterly and annual data and statistics on international development and trade. Issues to do with development and migration are covered in depth. Most of these surveys are made available through the UK Data Service but further analysis and commentary is provided by the OECD iLibrary with direct links to main economic indicators, economic outlook statistics, and national accounts statistics.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales
Official webpage of the UK government for census and other government surveys. Visitors are able to search statistics by area, region or place. Data is available on the economy covering subjects such as inflation, public spending, revenue and productivity measures. Access is also given to key economic time series data.

Online Historical Population Reports (OHPR or Histpop)
The Online Historical Population Reports (OHPR) collection provides online access to the complete British population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937. It includes a wealth of textual and statistical material and provides an in-depth view of the economy and society during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is also popularly known as the Histpop project.

UK Data Service  
An archive of social science research that, in collaboration with the UK Data Archive, makes data available from many key governmental surveys and academic research projects. Content may be downloaded or analysed online on various issues including race, economic wellbeing, voting behaviour and social attitudes.

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade)
Contains detailed import and export flow data for over 200 countries listed by commodity and partner country. These data are processed into a standard format with consistent coding and valuation. All values are converted into US dollars using exchange rates supplied by the countries, or derived from monthly market rates and volume of trade. Where possible quantities are converted into metric units. For many countries the data coverage starts as far back as 1962 and all go up to the most recent completed year.
Commodities are classified according to Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) and the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). The original data are also converted and stored in alternative classifications.

The above link is to the premium subscription service which allows bulk downloads of data. Additional analysis and visualisations are also available on the UN open data portal.

UNCTADStat (Commodity Price Statistics)
Provide monthly free-market prices and price indices starting in January 1960 for selected commodities that concern commodity-dependant countries. Price indices are provided for commodity groups (including food, tropical beverages, vegetable oilseeds and oils, agricultural raw materials, minerals, ores and metals), and for all groups in current dollars and SDRs. Additional features include: instability indices and trends in prices; annual maximum and minimum values of monthly price averages; and Commodity Price Bulletin in PDF format.

United Nations Demographic Yearbook
The United Nations Demographic Yearbook collects, compiles and disseminates official statistics collected annually. A range of topics are covered tabulations on economic characteristics and trends.

United Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics Online
The database presents current monthly economic statistics for most of the countries and areas of the world. In addition, a selection of tables that are updated less frequently than the regular monthly tables is included. These tables present annual and/or quarterly data on a variety of subjects illustrating important economic trends and developments. Data is available from 1998.

World Development Indicators
The database provides free and open access to a comprehensive set of data about development in countries around the globe, together with other datasets cited in the data catalogue.

World Development Reports
The guide to the economic, social and environmental state of the world today annually provides in depth analysis of a specific aspect of development, such as the role of the state, transition economies, labour, infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty.

World Inequality Database (
Aims to provide open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the world distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries combining the different data sources available (in particular fiscal data, survey data and national accounts) in a systematic way. Also provides a new set of research tools for usera in the production of their own inequality datasets.

You can find further resources on this theme by using on Databases A-Z or SOLO and subject guides.

Recommendations for additions to these lists are always welcome. Please email the Bodleian Data Librarian with suggestions.