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Looking for free economic data?

While Horn Library subscribes to a variety of data aggregation resources, among them Euromonitor, IHS Global Insight’s Data-Insight, Statista, Data-Planet, and more, sometimes it’s helpful to get data directly from the source.  Here are some free data sites:

  • World Bank
    • 10 different ways to access their data; best are (full databanks with 50-60 years of data) or (choose country or by topic).
    • Use many different data sources, e.g. IMF, UN, and many primary sources within the different countries, e.g. company accounts, census, health records, etc.
    • They are also collecting survey micro-data and subnational data, and help countries improve their data collection.
  • Penn World Table v.8
    • Has country comparative data on relative levels of income, output, inputs, and productivity covering 167 countries between 1950 and 2011.
    • Resides at the University of Groningen; links are provided to other economic databases, e.g.
      • EU KLEMS database which provides 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.
      • Total Economy Database at The Conference Board (data for 123 countries from 1950 onwards).
  • WITS – World Integrated Trade Solution is the result of collaboration between the World Bank, UN, WTO to provide a quick view of a country’s trade and tariff data.
  • TiVA – Trade in Value Added is a new OECD & WTO database to measure the value of global inputs into imported and exported goods and services.
  • FRED, ALFRED, GEOFRED: The St. Louis Federal Reserve’s economic databases
    • FRED now has over 237k data series, including some international data; includes historical data.
    • ALFRED: FRED data archive; data at point of publication (“vintage” data); if data later get revised, revision is in FRED, original in ALFRED).
    • GEOFRED: heat mapping interface for some FRED data; app available via Google Play.


The Library’s statistical subscription databases can be accessed here; and the we also maintain a data sets research guide.