Senior Departmental Honors Seminar

Fall 2013

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-498; Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (Section 01)

  • Overview
  • Databases
  • Reference
  • Data
  • Web Resources


This course guide provides resources for senior thesis writers in the Department of Economics.

In addition to this course guide, the library maintains a research guide for economics that provides a list of electronic resources including journal article databases that index scholarly literature in economics.


Sign Up for the Fall Zotero workshop series
Sign up to attend a one-hour tutorial
to get you started with Zotero this fall. All workshops are held in the Lane Room on level A of the Frost library. Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free application that helps you collect, manage, and cite your sources. It's available in all computer labs on campus and you can download it on your personal computer for free. Tutorials and documentation are also available.



Please complete the following assignment to begin exploring sources for Economic data.

Databases: Find articles, book chapters, e-books

EconLit with Full Text (1969 to present)
From the American Economic Association -- the foremost source of references to economic literature.

ERIC (1966 to present)
Covers research documents, journal articles, technical reports, program descriptions and evaluations, and curricular materials in the field of education.

Full-text legal materials back to volume 1, historic English law and more. (Alumni access)

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) (1951 to present)
Indexes about 3,000 journals and 7,000 books per year.

Full-text backfiles of over two thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. (Alumni access)

LexisNexis Academic (date coverage varies)
Full-text federal and state laws, international legal materials, and law reviews. Also newspapers and business information.

PAIS Index (1972 to present)
Coverage of articles, selected books, government documents, research reports, etc., from a wide range of social sciences.

Political Science Database (ProQuest) (1985 to present)
Full-text articles from leading political science and international relations journals.

PsycInfo (1887 to present)
Covers the academic literature in psychology and related disciplines including psychiatry, sociology, education, and other areas.

PubMed (1966 to present)
Premiere biomedical index, includes MEDLINE and links to molecular biology databases.

Social Science Database (ProQuest)
Covers academic literature for disciplines ranging from anthropology, sociology, and political science to communication, education, criminology, demography, economics and more.

Social Sciences Citation Index (1984 to present)
Tracks cited references to locate more recent articles in social science.

WestLaw (Thomson Reuters)
Federal and state laws, law reviews, legal encyclopedias and dictionaries. Also newspapers and the European Union Library.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (1975 to present)
Covers international journals in political science and its complementary fields.


Encyclopedia of Social Measurement
Covers all core social science disciplines and presents a comprehensive summary of observational frameworks and mathematical models.

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences
Scholarly surveys of all aspects of social sciences.

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
Covers scholarship and fields in the social sciences.

Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics)
Online resource covering all aspects of the field of economics.

Handbooks in Economics Series

The Palgrave encyclopedia of world economic history since 1750.Graham Bannock and R.E. Baxter, eds. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.(FROST REF HC15 .B355 2010)

Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History. Joel Moykl, ed. Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003. 5 vols. (FROST REF HC15 .O94 2003)

Encyclopedia of Political Economy. Phillip Anthony O'Hara, ed. London [England] ;   New York : Routledge, 1999. 2 vols. (FROST REF HB61 .E554 1999)


Anything Research
Market research and industry trends.

China Data Online
Includes monthly and yearly reports on national, regional, and local macro-economics, as well as statistical yearbooks and census data.

Historical Statistics of the United States
Standard source for quantitative information about the U.S., updated and includes 37,000 data series.

ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
World's largest archive of computerized social science data, provides abstracts and data.

IMF Statistical Databases
Includes International Financial Statistics with history to 1948, Direction of Trade with history to 1980, Balance of Payments with history to 1960 and Government Finance Statistics with history to 1990. (Username/Password required for access is available from the Reference Desk.)
India-specific socioeconomic statistical facts and figures; data can be downloaded in Excel or HTML.

Database contains survey questions and answers asked in the US over the last 70+ years by more than 150 survey organizations. Create a personal registration for access to full features.

Public Opinion Research Archive (Roper Center)
Archives datasets from thousands of surveys with national adult, state, foreign, and special subpopulation samples. Create a personal registration to access datasets and full features.

Social Explorer (1790 to present)
Access to data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, religious congregations, and other sources, with options to create thematic and interactive maps and reports.

Statistical Insight (ProQuest)
Searches U.S. federal government (1974-present), international intergovernmental (1983-present), state government and privately published documents (1981-present) that contain statistics. Many tables are available online as images or Excel files.

WDI Online (1960 to present)
World Development Indicators providing international social and economic statistics from the World Bank.

NBER Data - wealth of well-documented data from the National Bureau of Economic Research


SELECT data sources:



BOPS - Balance of Payments

International Monetary Fund

Selected Online IMF Data Sources


International Trade Statistics Yearbook

United Nations

United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database



Statistical Abstract of the United States

Fedstats is a good place to start...

US statistical agencies pertaining to economic analysis


Africa Development Indicators

World Bank

Africa Development indicators portal


Global Development Finance

World Bank

data portal


World Development Report

World Bank



Finding Data:

There are many different strategies for finding data.

  1. Use the economic literature approach, and see what data other authors writing in your topic area are citing. Search EconLit (or the other sources above under finding articles) for a keyword and add (data or statistics or empirical).
  2. Footnote slogging -- check the footnotes of relevant articles or books. See what the author used as a source.
  3. Go directly to an agency, organization, or non-profit which produces or collects data. There are thousands of these, of course, so there are many attempts to provide lists or finding aids for them-- for example: Resources Online from the AC Econ Department, Data/Statistics from the AC Library (in addition to free resources, provides links to data we pay for). Sometimes the data is not available for free -- it may be possible for the library to purchase data to support your thesis. 
  4. ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) The world's largest archive of social science data, for use with statistical software such as SAS, SPSS, and Stata. This data is not freely available on the web -- AC belongs. 
  5. Historic data -- Much of the data available has not been digitized. There are many sources available in paper which can be scanned in Seely Mudd with high quality OCR and exported into Excel. If you do create data from historic sources, ICPSR welcomes data submission (with all the appropriate metadata) and then makes it available to others. Data/Statistics above has links to some of the historic data sites that subscribe to or know about. 
  6. Cooperation with UMass. UMass Business School (in addition to the library) has high cost business and finance datasets that AC does not own. In the past, they have allowed AC student to access the data, working with/through the AC faculty advisor. 
  7. Consulting the research community -- there are listservs like IASSIST where researchers, librarians, data providers and data users all share information.

Web Resources

WoPEc: Electronic Papers in Economics -- the latest research
NBER Working Papers  (National Bureau of Economic Research)
Eldis: Development policy, practice and research. Over 24,000 summarised documents from over 4,500 development organisations - all free to download.
Social Science Research Network: Economics