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Data & Statistics from International
Government Organizations
Jim Church
UC Data Research Seminar
March 16, 2012
International Governmental Organization
(IGOs) Broad Framework
• United Nations System of Organizations
• European Union
• Economic & Financial Organizations
• Other Regional & Multiregional Organizations
United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD)
The UNSD is arguably the world’s most important international statistical
organization, especially in the area of international statistical
classifications and standards. It’s mission includes:
• Collection, processing and dissemination of statistical information
• Standardization of statistical methods classifications & definitions:
International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic
Activities (ISIC)
Standard International Trade Classification (SITC )
Extended Balance of Payments Services Classification (EBOPS)
System of National Accounts (SNA)
• Coordination of international statistical programs and activities
UN Statistics Division Databases
• UnData
 Monthly Bulletin of Statistics Online
 UN Comtrade
 UN Service Trade
 National Accounts Main Aggregates
UNData and Monthly Bulletin
• UNdata . One stop-shop portal for data from the United
Nations Statistics Division and UN and specialized agencies.
Provides links to databases from which the data is derived.
Interface makes multiple variable downloads difficult.
• Monthly Bulletin of Statistics Online. Nice interface makes
selection and downloading of variables easy. Limited number
of indicators (55). Chief advantage is the data is monthly.
United Nations Statistical Yearbooks
They still make them. Famous UN Yearbooks & Handbooks include:
Statistical Yearbook of the United Nations
Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific
Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean
African Statistical Yearbook
Demographic Yearbook
Energy Statistics Yearbook
Industrial Commodity Statistics Yearbook
International Trade Statistics Yearbook
National Accounts Statistics: Main Aggregates and Detailed Tables
World Investment Report & Directory
UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics
Least Developed Countries Report
These can be great for historical research. The UN Statistical Yearbook has data
that no other source has going back to 1946.
The League of Nations
The League of Nations was the UN’s predecessor and had amazing data for
its time. Most of it is not online and is still buried in libraries but some
has been digitized. Key League of Nations statistical publications include:
League of Nations Statistical Yearbook
International Trade Statistics
International health year book
Money and Banking
World Economic Survey
See this Primer of League of Nations Documents Research at
Princeton University Library for more information.
Comtrade & Service Trade
• Comtrade. Commodity trade (banana pulp and pig iron) data between
countries with values for quantity and value over time.
• Requires understanding of Commodity Classification systems (SITC and
HS) to use.
• “Comtrade explorer” is the view-only version. Select “submit query” after
variable selection is complete and click direct download.
• UN Service Trade is relatively new and offers statistics of international
trade in services. Free but requires user registration. Uses the Extended
Balance of Payments Services Classification (EBOPS) for services.
• Trade in services also available for OECD countries via OECDiLibrary
United Nations Agency Databases
• UNDP Human Development Indicators. Development Indicators from the
United Nations Development Programme. Home of the Human
Development Index and the Human Development Report.
• United Nations Environment Programme. Offers detailed environmental
and related socio-economic data by detailed geography.
• UNIDO Industrial Statistics Database (CD in Doe Library). Global
Industrial statistics, i.e. firms, employees and wages by industry. This is the
closest thing to an international economic census.
• UNU-WIDER World Income Inequality. Database of world income
inequality. The University of Texas Inequality Project site has more sources.
Human Development Reports
Detailed development indicators for countries around the world.
Each national report has a different theme; data annexes are in the
back. Created by UNDP country offices (over 150 worldwide).
More United Nations Agency Data
• AIDSInfo Online. The UN AIDS agency. Global HIV/AIDS data by
detailed geography, sometimes down to state/provincial levels.
• UNCTADStat. Source for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and other
unconventional metrics of trade and investment.
• UNICEF Statistics & Monitoring. Statistics on children & youth.
Includes the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS).
• UNHCR Online Population Database. UN High Commissioner for
Refugees database. Data on refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless
persons, etc.
• UN Habitat UrbanInfo. From the UN Commission for Human
Settlements. International urban and housing data.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
UN Specialized Agencies
United Nations specialized agencies are largely autonomous and have their
own charter and budget. They are related to the UN via international treaties.
• International Labour Organization. LABORSTA database. Includes wages,
unemployment, hours of work, strikes, etc. See especially the October Inquiry.
• Food and Agricultural Organization. FAOSTAT. Food and agriculture, fisheries,
prices, forestry, production, and trade.
• World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory Database. Nutrition,
epidemics, health systems, HIV/AIDS, immunizations, etc.
• International Telecommunication Union. World Telecommunications Indicators
database (Password access only – ask at any library reference desk).
• UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Educational, communication, cultural and
science/technology data.
• UPU Postal Statistics. Statistics on postal services and the mail (fun).
UN Regional Commissions
United Nations countries are officially divided into five groupings.
These commissions publish statistics about their respective regions
in official yearbooks and databases.
• UN ESCAP Annual Core Indicators – Asia & the Pacific
• CEPALStat – Latin America & the Caribbean
• UN ECE Statistical Database - Europe
• UN ECA Statbase – Sub-Sarahan Africa
• UN ESCWA – Western Asia (print publications only)
• Extensive national and sub-regional data for Europe from the
Statistical Office of the European Union.
• Covers economics & finance, industry and trade, population ,
agriculture, transport, the environment and more.
• For Europe this is my “go-to” database.
• Interface requires drilling down through multiple menus.
• Tables look static but are not. Choose “select data” at the upper
right to adjust variables, geographies and years.
Eurostat Navigation
Remember those codes?
Look for Hidden Clues….
OECD iLibrary
• Portal of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
for data and publications. Data is mostly for OECD countries.
• Not the same as data on the free OECD site. The OECD iLibrary is
• OECDStat is the statistics section. Includes Main Economic Indicators
(monthly data, widely cited) international trade data by commodity,
development aid data (also widely used) insurance, banking, taxation,
productivity and more.
• UC Berkeley has access to International Energy Agency (IEA) data and
OECD health data.
• Examples of famous studies include PISA and the World Economy.
International Monetary Fund
Via the IMF eLibrary (which includes e-books we do not pay for). Some data
goes back to 1940’s. Includes:
International Financial Statistics (IFS) – Exchange rates, interest
rates, foreign reserves, money, banking, gold etc. Goes back to 1946.
Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS) – Aggregate trade flows between
countries going back to 1946.
Balance of Payments Statistics (BOPS) - Transactions in goods,
services, and income between an economy and the rest of the world.
Government Finance Statistics (GFS) – Summarized and standardized
government budget data. Older data via ICPSR.
World Economic Outlook (WEO) – Macroeconomic indicators, projections
and commodity data (free) from the IMF.
World Bank Data Catalog
Comprehensive listing of all World Bank publicly available data. The
free availability of all this information is a major milestone. Some major
World Bank data sources include:
• World Development Indicators. For international data this is the gold
standard for usability and comprehensiveness.
• Global Development Finance. World Bank (external) debt database.
Years ago the print version was called World Debt Tables.
• African Development Indicators. Primary world bank database for
statistics on Africa. Contains unique data not in WDI.
• GenderStats. Good database for international gender data (surprisingly
difficult to find).
World Bank & Microdata
World Bank Microdata Catalog. Catalog of World Bank microdata: impact
evaluation surveys, living standards measurement surveys, etc. Includes guides on
types of microdata useful for poverty interventions. See especially sources of data
useful for poverty analysis.
Living Standards Measurement Surveys. Data on multiple indicators of household
well-being, useful for assessing household behavior and evaluating the effect of
government policies on the living conditions of the population.
International Household Survey Network Catalog. Catalog of household surveys
And links to national or international databanks.
Indexes and Aggregators
Third parties index and purchase rights to IGO data or “add value” to it if in the
public domain. Examples include:
CEIC Global Database. Data from central banks, the IMF, World Bank, BIS
and many other sources consolidated. WDI on steroids.
Global Financial Data (GFD). Extremely long runs of international financial
Economic data, sometimes back hundreds of years. For my “Ottoman
Empire” questions.
Proquest Statistical Datasets. Proquest’s attempt to consolidate all the
statistics in the World into one database.
ProQuest Statistical Insight. Indexes and in some cases provides links to US,
State and local, commercial and international sources. This is where I go
when stumped.
Contact Info
Come see us - librarians are here to help!
Jim Church
Librarian for Economics, Development Studies,
Political Economy, and International Government Information
University of California, Berkeley
438 Doe Library
Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (510) 768-7611