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A research guide for those majoring in Economics or taking an Econ course.

Tips for Finding Economic Data

One approach to searching for data is to think about who may have collected the data. Possibilities include:

  1. Governments. Governments (and intergovernmental organizations) collect data on populations, health, business, and many other topics. Department and agency websites often have a data section. 
  2. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). NGOs often collection data in line with their mission and can be a source of local or international data.
  3. Private Companies.  Business often gather and package data for sale. The library can help with the process of purchasing proprietary data when necessary.
  4. Other Researchers. Researchers often share their data online. Many economic journals require deposit of the underlying data when accepting a manuscript for publication. Check journal articles for citations to data. 

Types of Economic Data

Social science data are often described in terms of:

1. The level of aggregation:

  • Macro or aggregate data are about whole districts, states, industries, sectors, or countries.
  • Micro  or individual-level data are about specific individuals, families, households, or firms.

2. The period of collection:

  • Time series data are observations of one variable over time (e.g. GDP, Consumer Price Index, employment rate).
  • Cross section data are observations of many variables at one point in time (e.g. Census, American Community Survey, polling data).
  • Panel or longitudinal data are observations of the same variables over time (basically time series data for several variables).
  • Pooled or repeated cross section data are observations of many variables over time with different samples. 

Best Bets for US Macro Data Sources

Additional US Micro Data Sources

World and Non-US Macro Data

Best Bets for Micro Data Sources

Additional Micro Data Sources

Spatial Data Sources

Taking a spatial perspective on your research may help you ask and answer new questions. Spatial data can be challenging to interpret if you have not worked with it before. For assistance with spatial analysis and mapping, visits Data@Reed.