Economics Research Guide


Cuneiform tablet: administrative account with entries concerning malt and barley groats

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective information research in economics.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian: 
Jennie Correia
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Reference Sources
Journal Articles
Working Papers
Data & Stats
Company Info & Primary Sources
Writing & Citing

Finding Background Information - Reference Sources

Consult scholarly reference sources to get an overview of a topic, an introduction to a theory, definitions to discipline-specific terms, and more.

Finding Books

  • CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and some information from the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.
  • Columbia's Business & Economics Library  is one of the largest collections in the United States for the study of management, finance, economics, industry and related fields. During midterms and finals, access to the physical library is limited to economics majors and business school students.
  • WorldCat searches the catalogs of libraries worldwide. If we don't have a book you want, or if it's already checked out to someone else, you can request it via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.

Finding Journal Articles - Recommended Databases

For off-campus access to library online resources, remember to follow the links from CLIO or this research guide. You can also use the proxy bookmarklet.

  • ABI/Inform Global provides access to the literature on advertising, marketing, economics, management techniques, human resources, finance, taxation, computers, and more. Includes the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.
  • Annual Review of Economics is great for getting comprehensive summaries of research on specific topics in the field. Look at the bibliographies to lead you to the original works cited.
  • Business Abstracts with Full Text covers articles from over 800 business magazines, trade and research journals.
  • Business Source Complete provides access to the scholarly and professional literature in business and economics.
  • EconLit with Full Text is a good place to search for scholarly economics research. It provides access to economic research dating back to 1969 and contains journal articles, books, collective volume articles, dissertations, working papers, and full-text book reviews from the Journal of Economic Literature.
  • GenderWatch includes full text from contemporary scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, NGO and special reports.
  • Google Scholar is frequently used by Barnard economics professors to search for economics literature. It is very useful for seeing if a book, article, etc. has been cited by other scholars. Search on the title, and then follow the "Cited by ..." link. 
  • JSTOR provides the full text of back issues from core scholarly journals in anthropology and other fields in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Please note that, generally, this database does not include issues published in the last few years. You can search just the economics journals in JSTOR by using the Advanced Search "NARROW BY DISCIPLINE AND/OR JOURNAL" feature.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science) is a multidisciplinary database with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences. It links publications based on citations allowing you to search the "web" of communication surrounding a topic. You also can search Science Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Index simultaneously with the Social Science Citation Index - click on "MORE SETTINGS" to select the databases you want to search.

Finding Economics Working Papers

  • Academic Commons is Columbia University's digital repository. Check out the Economics or the Economics (Barnard) links to see some working papers by your professors and fellow students! 
  • Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) features a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs.
  • Centre for Economic Policy Research Discussion Papers has full text papers covering economic research and policy issues.
  • EconPapers provides access to RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), the world's largest collection of on-line Economics working papers, journal articles and software.  RePEc is a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 87 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in Economics and related sciences.
  • IMF eLibrary provides access to the IMF’s periodicals, books, working papers and studies, and data and statistical tools. You will find information on macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade and aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, poverty reduction, and more.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) covers four areas of empirical research: developing new statistical measurements, estimating quantitative models of economic behavior, assessing the effects of public policies on the U.S. economy, and projecting the effects of alternative policy proposals.
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a large repository of open-access papers that includes the Economic Research Network, Financial Economics Network, and Health Economics Network. 

Finding Economic Indicators - Select Data and Statistical Sources

For help finding and analyzing data, check out the Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC). The ERC's calendar lists when staff is available to answer your questions. No appointment necessary!

  • American FactFinder (U.S. Census Bureau) is a key source for population, housing, economic, and geographic data. You can find fact sheets, statistics, and data sets.
  • ALFRED (Archival Federal Reserve Economic Data)  allows you to retrieve vintage versions of economic data that were available on specific dates in history.
  • provides descriptions of the Federal datasets (metadata), information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets.
  • Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program has collected, analyzed, and disseminated accurate and representative data on population, health, HIV, and nutrition through more than 300 surveys in over 90 countries.
  • EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) provides access to several EIU publications including Country Reports, Country Monitor, Country Commerce, Country Finance, and EIU ViewsWire. Information is presented as analysis, briefings, commentary, or forecasts.
  • FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) is an extensive source of economic data and research.
  • GFD (Global Financial Data) is a collection of historical financial and economic data covering 200 countries.
  • ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) holds the world's largest collection of computer-readable social science data.
  • International Financial Statistics (IFS) is available from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) eLibrary. To access IFS, select "Series" --> "IMF Statistics" --> International Financial Statistics. Contains data from 1947 to the present.
  • Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) is a household survey program housed within the Survey Unit of the World Bank's Development Data Group that provides technical assistance to national statistical offices (NSOs) in the design and implementation of multi-topic household surveys. LSMS surveys have been conducted in dozens of countries around the world. The LSMS website hosts many of these surveys - for others, they provide links to the websites of the relevant national statistics offices. 
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States. Once provided free from the U.S. Census Bureau, now provided by ProQuest.
  • U.S Economic Indicators, prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers for the Joint Economic Committee, provide economic information on gross domestic product, income, employment, production, business activity, prices, money, credit, security markets, Federal finance, and international statistics.
  • World DataBank is a compilation of a number of World Bank data products, the most significant one being World Development Indicators. Includes time series data from as early as 1960.

Need even more data sources? Check out Social Science Data & Statistics Sources.

Finding Company Profiles and Primary Sources (e.g. News Articles)

  • Factiva offers full text business information, general news and current event coverage, including the full text of the Wall Street Journal.
  • Hoover's Company Records provides company profiles on 40,000 public and private companies including location, competitors, and summary financials. 
  • LexisNexis Academic contains access to hundreds of information sources including the full text of newspapers, magazines, wire services, newsletters, journals, and broadcast transcripts.
  • OECD iLibrary is the online publications portal of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • World Bank eLibrary is a cross-searchable portal of over 5,000 World Bank documents including the Annual Review of Development Effectiveness, Global Development Finance, Global Poverty Report, Trends in Developing Economies, World Bank Annual Report, World DataBank, World Development Report, World Development Sources, and many more.

Writing and Citing

Last updated February 23, 2018

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