Data for political economy students

A list of sources for (mainly) financial data

Benjamin Braun

Primary official data sources

Most of the following official data sources can be accessed via DBnomics, a uniquely helpful, non-commercial economic data platform. The R package rdbnomics makes pulling data from different official sources in a standardised format incredibly efficient (see here).

Compiled datasets, official sources

Financial system

Sovereign debt

Holders of sovereign debt

Compiled datasets, academic researchers

On official lending

  • IMF Monitor: Data on IMF activities, compiled and published by academic researchers and civil society. Source: Kentikelenis, Stubbs, and King (2016).
  • Global Financial Safety Net Tracker: Data on the total amount of financing to combat the COVID-19 crisis via IMF loans, regional financial arrangements (RFAs), and currency swaps; historical data on the annual lending capacity that a country can access in IMF, RFAs or central bank currency swaps.
  • Foreign lending by China
    • China’s Overseas Lending - loan-level dataset and country debt stock estimates: Contains estimates of debt owed to China by more than 100 developing and emerging market governments for each year 2000-2017. Source: Horn, Reinhart, and Trebesch (2021).
    • How China Lends Dataset (Version 1.0): This dataset contains information about 100 loan contracts between Chinese state-owned entities and government borrowers in 24 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Oceania. Source: Gelpern et al. (2022).
    • AidData’s Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset (Version 2.0): This uniquely granular dataset captures 13,427 development projects worth $843 billion financed by more than 300 Chinese government institutions and state-owned entities across 165 countries in every major region of the world from 2000-2017. Source: Dreher et al. (2022).
    • China as an International Lender of Last Resort Dataset, Version 1.0: This dataset provides detailed information about (a) the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) standing bilateral swap lines and drawdowns initiated by foreign central banks through these swap lines between 2008 and 2021; and (b) rescue loans provided by Chinese state-owned banks and enterprises to government and government-owned institutions in low- and middle-income countries between 2000 and 2021. Source: Horn et al. (n.d.).

On other topics

  • External wealth of nations database: Provides estimates of each country’s external financial assets and liabilities since 1970. Source: Lane and Milesi-Ferretti (2018).
  • Global capital allocation project: A methodology to restate global capital flow statistics from a residency to a nationality basis. The data unmasks issuance in tax havens and shows that flows from developed countries to emerging market are much larger than previously known. Source: Coppola et al. (2021).
  • IPE Data Resource: Provides a public good to the field by standardizing and merging together variables from 89 IPE data sources into a single dataset, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of data management errors.
  • Macrohistory Database: The Jordà-Schularick-Taylor Macrohistory Database is the result of an extensive historical data collection effort, by many people and over many years.
  • World Inequality Database: Aims to provide open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the world distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries.
  • The GC Wealth Project: A platform aimed at expanding and consolidating access to the most up-to-date research and information on wealth, wealth inequalities, and wealth transfers and related tax policies, across countries and over time.


Coppola, Antonio, Matteo Maggiori, Brent Neiman, and Jesse Schreger. 2021. “Redrawing the Map of Global Capital Flows: The Role of Cross-Border Financing and Tax Havens.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 136 (3): 1499–1556.
Dreher, Axel, Andreas Fuchs, Bradley Parks, Austin Strange, and Michael J. Tierney. 2022. Banking on Beijing: The Aims and Impacts of China’s Overseas Development Program. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gelpern, Anna, Sebastian Horn, Scott Morris, Brad Parks, and Christoph Trebesch. 2022. “How China Lends: A Rare Look into 100 Debt Contracts with Foreign Governments.” Economic Policy, November, 1–72.
Horn, Sebastian, Bradley C. Parks, Carmen M. Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch. n.d. “China as an International Lender of Last Resort.”
Horn, Sebastian, Carmen M. Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch. 2021. “China’s Overseas Lending.” Journal of International Economics 133: 103539.
Kentikelenis, Alexander E., Thomas H. Stubbs, and Lawrence P. King. 2016. “IMF Conditionality and Development Policy Space, 19852014.” Review of International Political Economy 23 (4): 543–82.
Lane, Philip R., and Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti. 2018. “The External Wealth of Nations Revisited: International Financial Integration in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.” IMF Economic Review 66 (1): 189–222.