Skip to Main Content

Basic Sources of International Economic Statistics

Development/Aid - Data

In addition to the major sources, also use these specialized sources.
Currently encompasses multilateral and bilateral donor foreign aid projects spanning the years 1947-2013. It contains information from traditional aid sources such as the OECD's Creditor Reporting System (CRS) as well as donors not captured by the CRS and activities that do not fit the OECD definition of Official Development Assistance (ODA). AidData augments existing data by publishing more complete project descriptions and more detailed aid project purpose codes. In particular, AidData is dedicated to collecting project-level data from all multilateral donors and non-DAC bilateral donors (NDBs) to provide a more complete picture of development finance flows and activities. This resource will allow donor organizations, citizens in donor countries, researchers, NGOs, recipient governments, and, ultimately, the beneficiaries on the ground in developing countries to gain a more detailed understanding of past and present trends in aid.  Also see the Development Data Library. For Chinese development finance activities in Africa, see  Also see Chinese Loans to Africa (Chinese Africa Research Initiative); China’s Public Diplomacy Dashboard Dataset; China’s Public Diplomacy in South and Central Asia; and How China Lends Dataset.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
International Development Statistics (formerly known as Geographical Distribution of Financial Flows to Aid Recipients)1960-
Data on the volume, origin, and types of aid and other resource flows to over 200 recipient countries. Shows each country's take of official development assistance or official aid, other official and private funding from members of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, multilateral agencies and other donors. Key development indicators for each recipient country are also available.

Development Assistance for Health Database 1990-2020
This version of the Development Assistance for Health (DAH) Database includes estimates for 1990-2020, which are based on project databases, financial statements, annual reports, IRS 990s, and correspondence with agencies. The DAH Database enables comprehensive analysis of trends in international disbursements of grants and loans for health projects in low- and middle-income countries from key agencies. The data are disaggregated by source of funds, channel of funding, country and geographic region, health focus areas, and program areas. New in 2019: The current estimates of DAH incorporated improvements in methodology such as leveraging additional project-level descriptions from the Creditor Reporting System for the allocation of disbursements channeled through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and ongoing refinement of the project’s keyword search list.

EU Aid Explorer (1978+)
Provides access to data on donor activity around the world .

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
FTS.  Financial Tracking Service.
Tracks global humanitarian aid flows.

World Bank
International Debt Statistics
Annual 2009+ (former title is Global Development Finance; contained in World Development Indicators; but easy to visualize using the PDFs)

World Bank
World Development Report
Annual 1978+
Each issue focuses on several special topics relating to the state of the world economy. The annex, World Development Indicators, provides a wealth of current statistical information on the countries of the world.

The Least Developed Countries
Biennial socio-economic analysis and data on the world's 50 least developed countries. Examines the relationship between trade and development objectives.  (Online 1996+)
(UN) HC59.7 .L328 (1984+)

World Food Programme
Food Aid Monitor 1988-
Annual report examining food aid flows worldwide. Includes data on food aid deliveries, by purpose, commodity, supply mode, world region of purchase, recipient country and world region, and donor country. Older issues on Microfiche (IIS 4610-S3)

World Bank
World Bank Finances.  Open Financial Data
The goal of this website is to make data related to the Bank's financials available to everybody in a social, interactive, visually compelling, and machine readable format. The data covers portions of the Bank's investments, assets it manages on behalf of global funds, and the Bank's own financial statements.

Development/Aid - Assessment

Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA)
An assessment of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by 35 donor countries and more than 100 aid agencies. Aid quality is assessed using 31 indicators grouped in four dimensions that reflect the international consensus of what constitutes high-quality aid:  maximizing efficiency;fostering institutions;reducing burden; and transparency and learning.

World Bank
Annual Review of Development Effectiveness
Looked at the growth and poverty reduction experience of client countries and assesses the contributions that World Bank interventions made. After 2009, see Independent Evaluation Group Studies.
HG3881.5.W57 E82
Preceded by Evaluation Results for....  (1988-1995) (Firestone HG3881.5.W57 E82)

World Bank Group Country Opinion Survey Program (COS)
Interested in gauging the views of clients and partners who are either involved in development in the given country or who observe activities related to social and economic development. Meant to give the World Bank's team that works in the given country, more in-depth insight into how the Bank's work is perceived.

Annual Report. International Monetary Fund
Arrangements approved or extended by the IMF as well as disbursements, repurchases, and repayments.

OECD, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in Africa
Provides information on the main commitments made by Africa and its development partners, the extent to which they have been delivered and their results, and future policy priorities.  For years not on the OECD site, check the Economic Commission for Africa site.

Inter-American Development Bank
Impact Evaluation Resources
Allows users to view and track the results of development projects financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and carried out by member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Report on IFAD’s development effectiveness
Provides a high-level synthesis of results in 3 broad areas: the relevance of IFAD’s mandate (reduction of rural poverty and food insecurity) and operations in the context of the changing framework of international development assistance; the development effectiveness of IFAD-financed operations in generating development results that support national and global efforts to reduce rural poverty and fulfill the first Millennium Development Goal; and the organizational effectiveness and efficiency in delivering those results through improved internal performance management.  1998+.  A few are contained in datasets.

Africa - What Does Aid to Africa Finance? 1970-1996
If a donor gives aid for a project that the recipient government would have undertaken anyway, then the aid is financing some expenditure other than the intended project. The notion that aid in this sense may be "fungible," while long recognized, has recently been receiving some empirical support. Focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa - the region with the largest GDP share of aid and presents results that indicate that aid may be partially fungible, and suggests some reasons why. This database contains data used for the analysis. Includes data from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sudan, Swaziland, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Foreign Direct Investment/Portfolio Investment - Many Countries

Finding detailed FDI can be extremely challenging.  One can typically find total inflows and outflows by using International Financial Statistics.  See the International Financial Statistics Yearbook entry on the Financial & Monetary tab.  For major economies one can also find bilateral flows and investment by industry.  Finding the cross between the investing country and the industry is rare.  The sources below will help fill in some pieces along with statistical publications coming from the governments and central banks of various nations.  In the Catalog, search for the subject heading "Investments, Foreign".  You will then see geographic divisions.

International Direct Investment Statistics Yearbook
Annual. (Earliest data 1985)
Details historical statistics on international direct investment to and from the OECD. Data are broken down by geographical zone and industrial sector for direct investment flows and stocks.

Foreign Direct Investment Database (part of UNCTADStat)
Statistics on foreign direct investment (FDI).  Presented in 2 separate products: an interactive database for the aggregate figures and an electronic publication with the detailed information by country. The FDI database presents aggregate inflows, outflows, inward stocks and outward stocks of foreign direct investment (FDI) for 196 reporting economies in an interactive format. Detailed statistics on foreign direct investment (FDI) and operations of transnational corporations (TNCs) in selected countries are available at the World Investment Directory. Some recent bilateral data is also available. Since UNCTAD purges the reports and many of the current ones have disappeared, the Internet Archive is a useful place to find reports.  For 1992-2004, see the print (UN) HG4538 .W67.    Particularly useful are the FDI Country Profiles.  Updates, forecasts, analysis of the data and other activities related to FDI are available at the FDI Statistics site of the Division on Investment, Enterprise, and Development. Data on transnational corporations and cross border mergers and acquisitions can also be found. Princeton purchased a select set of very detailed data which includes bilateral country flows and FDI by industry covering 1970-2006. Library -- Crossborder Investment Monitor
Cross border foreign direct investment data by project and company.  Users are required to enter their email address, tick the box agreeing to the terms and conditions and then click 'Continue to fDi Markets'.  The data is based on public announcements and if the data team comes across an article or other public data that announces that the investment project will not happen anymore then this project is removed from the database.  Also see Benchmarks the competitiveness of countries and cities in over 65 sectors. Covers the main quality and cost competitiveness indicators across more than 600 locations globally. 

International Monetary Fund
Balance of Payments Statistics and International Investment Position
Annual. 1981-
Detailed balance of payments data for current account (goods and services), capital account, financial account (direct and portfolio investment), and reserves. World and regional tables are also presented. Includes a detailed section on methodology, compilation practices, and data sources.   For data prior to 1981 and back to 1938, see Balance of Payments Yearbook HF1014 .I61
For definitions, see Balance of payments and international investment position manual  and the BPM6 Compilation Guide. Data is also available  through Global Insight and Sage Data 

International Monetary Fund
Coordinated Direct Investment Survey
Annual. 2009-
Detailed bilateral direct investment data. Also included in Sage Data .

International Monetary Fund
Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey
Annual. 1997-
Detailed bilateral portfolio investment data. Also included in Sage Data .

World Bank
International Debt Statistics
Tracks the annual movement of international capital flows to developing countries.Through 2012 title was Global Development Finance.  Online is incorporated into World Development Indicators.

International Trade Centre
Investment Map
Focuses on data broken down by partner countries, economic activities and partner countries and economic activities crossed by each other. However, broken-down FDI data are not always available or take some time to be reported or collected. Data tends to be recent years only but often includes data by sector.

Foreign Direct Investment Analysis

World Investment Report
Most comprehensive source of analysis for foreign direct investment.
(UN) HG4538.W673


Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (A.T. Kearney)
Surveys executives internationally if they plan to invest in various nations and the data is aggregated to form country level indices.

Foreign Direct Investment - China and India

Don't forget to look at the sources above which contain many countries.

CEIC.  Start with this source for China and India.  Thousands of detailed series.

Statistical Bulletin of China's Outward Foreign Direct Investment.  Comprehensive source for Chinese FDI. 2004, 2006-2011; (best if viewed in Internet Explorer); 2011-2017*.  For earlier years you can get top partners through the China Statistical Yearbook.  Examples:

Also see Invest Overseas (

Much of the data from the Statistical Bulletin is also included in CEIC

Invest in China. Provides detailed data on FDI in China.  First half is in Mandarin; but 2nd half in English.  2011+

Statistics of FDI in China.  Very brief summaries of Chinese FDI. 2003+   Best if viewed in Internet Explorer.

China Global Investment Tracker.  Created by created by conservative think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation.  Tracks large Chinese investments and contracts worldwide (excluding bonds). Includes over 3800 large transactions across energy, transportation, technology, property and other sectors, as well as more than 350 troubled transactions.  

Database of investment projects that involve the setting up of new capacities in India. Captures only those projects that entail a capital expenditure of Rs.10 million or more. Registration required from a Princeton IP.  1995+.   Includes domestic and foreign investment.

Currently available only through the native language interface. Many are also stored on the DSS server.

Foreign Direct Investment/Portfolio Investment - Europe

European Union.
Eurostat.  Direct Investments.  Includes direct investment flow breakdowns by partner country and economic activity.

Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies
wiiw Database on Foreign Direct Investment in Central, East and Southeast Europe
1990-2007, FDI total inflow/outflow, FDI total inward/outward stock, FDI per capita (flow, stock) and selected other reference parameters on FDI, FDI inflow/outflow by form, FDI income (inflow and outflow), FDI inward/outward stock data by activity and home/host country, FDI inward/outward stock data by country, and FDI stock by form.