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Collection of economic data

Suggested citation: Rennings, K. (2013). Collection of economic data. LIAISE Toolbox. Retrieved date, from

Short Version

“Collection of economic data” is a very broad topic, too broad to give specific advice at this point. The generic answer on this page would be “it depends on your question, which specific economic field is addressed and for what cause the data is needed”. Economic data describes the status of an economy and can vary in its characteristics. Vast databases such as EIA, OECD or Eurostat procure data for more generic research questions. To get more specialized data one has to consult more functional sources depending on the research question. The following link collection should however provide you with a brief overview of existing general economic databases and possibilities for data-acquisition.

Extended Version

Types of data needed

There are several types of economic data. See “Practice examples” for further information.

Practice examples

Country information:

EIA - Country Analysis Briefs

The Country Analysis Briefs are reports about energy-situations in regions and countries. Among a general overview they provide information about raw material reserves, electricity supply and a summary of key economic data.

BBC News – Country profiles

Country Profiles provide an overview of history, politics and economy. They also include background information about important institutions.

EIU – Country Reports Archive

This database from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) offers Reports of all countries in the world including information about current and prospective economic and political development, external trade and prime economic indicators.

OECD – country profiles

Provides a great mass of data about OECD-countries. Furthermore there is various country information accessible by the statistical Databases of SourceOECD.


Patent information:

European Patent Office

Provides free-of-charge information about Patents

German Patent Office

Provides information about patents in Germany

Google Patent Search

Provides patent information about patents from the USA and EU.


United States Patent and Trademark Office

USPTO established a full-text database including all American Patents since 1976


Statistical Information

Earth Trends - Environmental information

EarthTrends is an online collection of information regarding the environmental, social, and economic trends that shape our world. The platform offers a large breadth of statistical, graphic, and analytical data in easily accessible formats. EarthTrends gathers data from the world’s leading statistical agencies, along with WRI-generated maps and analyses, into a single database for rapid searching and retrieving. To facilitate the comparison of data from different sources, the content is supplemented with detailed metadata that reports on research methodologies and evaluates the information’s reliability. All of these resources are made available to the public at no charge.

Economagic: Economic Time Series Page

Extensive collection of time series, focusing USA

Entrepreneurship Database,,menuPK:476823~pagePK:64165236~piPK:64165141~theSitePK:469372,00.html

The Entrepreneurship Database of the World Bank Group is the biggest on this issue area.

EU Statistics: EUROSTAT

EUROSTAT offers newest statistical information about the EU, member states, the European economic area and other European partner countries as well as latest key indicators of economy and society.

Finding data on the Internet (Robert Niles)

This is a private website providing an introduction in statistical terms and a link collection for data research by topics (agriculture, demographics, health, economics, politics etc.). Focus on USA.

GGDC Data Service

 This service form the Groningen Growth and Development Centre includes numerous databases:

  • 10-Sector Database: ( Provides production statistics of the most important sectors of 29 countries.
  • Total Economy Database: ( data about real GDP, population, employment, working hours, per capita income for 125 countries since 1950
  • EU KLEMS Database: ( The EU KLEMS includes measures of output and input growth, and derived variables such as multi-factor productivity at the industry level. The input measures include various categories of capital (K), labour (L), energy (E), material (M) and service inputs (S). The measures are developed for twenty-five individual European Union member states, the United States and Japan. It covers 30 to 72 industries for the period from 1970 onwards
  • Total Economy Growth Accounting Database: ( The GGDC Total Economy Growth Accounting Database provides measures of labour, capital services and multi factor productivity at the aggregate economy level. The database covers 15 European Countries, the European Union and the United States from 1980 onwards.
  • GGDC Productivity Level Database: ( The GGDC Productivity Level database provides comparisons of output, inputs and productivity at a detailed industry level for a set of thirty OECD countries for 1997. It complements the EU KLEMS growth and productivity accounts by providing comparative levels and follows it in terms of country and industry coverage, variable definition and basic data.


IMF Data and Statistics:

The IMF published an enormous collection of time series, e.g. World Economic Outlook Database, International Financial Statistics, Joint BIS-IMF-OECD-World Bank Statistics on External Debt, Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook, Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER), Direction Of Trade Statistics (DOTS), Primary Commodity Prices, Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity, Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs), Financial data, Exchange rates data.


Database includes regularly updated labour-market data and forecasts from over 200 countries and economic areas.

OECD Statistics Portal:

"Exclusively dedicated to statistical information, this portal gives easy access to the statistical information available for any particular OECD activity. It includes many free statistical tables, methodological documentation and also the latest news and events in the area of statistics."

World Economic Outlook Database (IMF):

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) database contains selected macroeconomic data series from the statistical appendix of the World Economic Outlook report, which presents the IMF staff's analysis and projections of economic developments. In this database you can 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. Data are available from 1980 to the present; projections are given for the next two years.








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