Data Sources: A Compendium [Updated]

For students in my courses, some useful data links.


Surveys, Forecasts

Uncertainty Indices

High frequency and nowcasting data

18 thoughts on “Data Sources: A Compendium [Updated]

  1. Moses Herzog

    It is this degenerate goofball slacker’s opinion that BOFIT should now be regularly added to the above list.

    Some UW-Madison prof introduced me to that stupendously awesome website. I forgot his name now.

  2. pgl

    Speaking of data sources:

    The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2022 to 2032

    A nice forecast of the economy from now to 2032. Bruce Hall cannot be bothered to provide Pete Petersen’s source for what Brucie thought (assuming he ever thinks) was an alarming chart of interest expenses relative to GDP. Of course the closest graph in the actual CBO document to what the Petersen drew was table 1-8, which was some projected debt/GDP ratio.

    Did CBO forecast high inflation in the future? No. How about high real interest rates? No. How about runaway spending? No.

    Oh wait – they did forecast that under current tax law including the Trump tax cut for the rich that revenues would stay low.

    Now had Brucie bothered to read what CBO said – he would have noticed that this alarming scenario could easily be avoided by increasing taxes on the rich. But then I was assuming Brucie actually READS – which of course we all know he never does.

    1. pgl

      Bruce Hall never bothered to read this CBO document before jumping all over some Pete Petersen graph that indicated interest expenses might explode by 2052. My read of the CBO forecasts suggests nominal interest rates will remain at 3.8% and with inflation expected to be 2%, which means real interest rates will be only 1.8%. So a graph that plots nominal interest expenses over states real interest expenses by more than a factor of two. But then the CBO notes:

      ‘Federal debt held by the public is projected to dip from 100 percent of GDP at the end of 2021 to 96 percent in 2023. The rapid growth of nominal GDP—reflecting both high inflation and the continued growth of real GDP (that is, GDP adjusted to remove the effects of inflation)—helps hold down the amount of debt relative to the nation’s output. As deficits increase in most years after 2023 in CBO’s projections, debt steadily rises, reaching 110 percent of GDP in 2032—higher than it has ever been—and 185 percent of GDP in 2052.’

      Debt being 110% of GDP in 2032 is not exactly the end of the world that Republicans and Brucie are painting. But what about the next 30 years. Well let’s take the old Domar burden of debt model, which is similar to the informed writings of conservative economists like Tom Sargent, Robert Lucas, and even yes Milton Friedman.

      If the present value of future government surpluses (PV) as of 2032 match that 110% debt/GDP ratio then this ratio does not rise over time. A simple model of this would be:

      PV = (t – g)/(r – n) where r = the real interest rate (1.8%), n = the long-run growth of real GDP (1.7% according to CBO), g = government spending (excluding interest)/GDP which CBO puts at 20.6%, and t = taxes/GDP.

      This simple model could be used by followers of Domar etc. using the high level calculus the 3-year olds who mocked Brucie boy during preK classes to note that if t were only 20.71% then this alleged explosive in the debt/GDP ratio never occurs.

      Oh wait – thanks to the Trump tax cuts, the tax/GDP ratio is only 18.2%. All of this is in the CBO report for anyone with a brain who actually READ the report. Of course Bruce does not read and I doubt he has a functioning brain even if he did.

      So yea – we need some sort of long-run fiscal responsibility. The Republican plan? They do not have one as they want to raise defense spending and have more tax cuts for the rich. Now when Biden says their real plan is to slash Social Security and Medicare – McCarthy goes ballistic.

      So Kevin? So Brucie? Is the solution to make the rich pay a wee bit more in taxes? Or are you just blowing smoke?

    1. pgl

      Brucie boy’s new job for the economic consulting firm led by Kelly Anne Conway is graphing the interest in nominal interest expenses for the Federal government. Of course Kelly Anne is not going to allow Brucie to talk about why they have increased even though most 3 year olds know it is driven by an increase in NOMINAL interest rates, which are standing at 3.5%.

      But wait Brucie’s previous job was shooting INFLATION 24/7 which we know he LIED about repeatedly.

      Now the real interest rate on 10-year government bonds is 1.2% not 3.5%. So if interest payments were properly calculated, his little graphs would not please boss lady Kelly Anne. Now I thought everyone knew this since about 40 years ago we had an extensive literature on this from the like of Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, and Tom Sargent. OK Brucie has no clue who the last two gentlemen are but like Friedman they are conservative economists. And all three are both smart and honest – neither of which Brucie ever is.

      But come on man – drawing a graph based on nominal interest rates during a period when inflation is above zero is about as dumb and dishonest as it gets. But that’s our BRUCIE BOY!

  3. Ivan

    Finding and using credible sources of information, and avoiding those that are not, is probably the most important thing you can teach your students (and children).

    1. Moses Herzog

      So is BOFIT, but if the user is too low IQ to navigate the site, it won’t do him any good. That’s when they pack up their bags and move to blue state Massachusetts and become a consultant. It’s like the old saying goes, “If you can’t comprehend them, reprehend them”. Based on their leader’s take on most economics issues, that could be Princeton Energy Advisors’ company motto. I’ll let you have it for free.

      1. pgl

        Stevie’s interest in Russian financing seems to be how this might lead to Putin being more aggressive or less aggressive. Maybe I’m misreading Stevie (after all his bombastic writing is all over the map) but I get the sense he is praying for World War III to break out.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Kind of makes you wonder what Kopits is wishing for doesn’t it?? This is kind of something he has similar to Steve Bannon aye?? This weird thing where he seems to have no regard for the greater good, just wants to sell you that erectile dysfunction pill or the reverse mortgage, then sit back and watch what happens. I have my tiny moments of cynicism or tiny moments when I think “I hate this world”, but to hold that as a view for life, kind of strange, yah?? But you aren’t alone in thinking about Kopits and that WW III stuff, you got some reason (he’s put out there) to suspect there. That’s a pretty perceptive observation I would even say.

          1. baffling

            i think this is a bit too cynical. i don’t think steven wishes for ww3. but steven has a life that completely revolves around oil. and the more important and valuable oil is, the better. the angle towards putin and russia is probably not driven directly by ww3, but the thought that continued war mongering by russia will drive oil prices higher in the near term. and that is why steven is taking such a position.

            remember, steven has a limited ability to see the long term, which is oil’s demise. after all, steven was one of the leading opponents when i (and others) pushed the idea of electric cars a few years ago. he was very dismissive of the impact electric vehicles would have on the country. and within a couple of years of those discussions, EVERY major vehicle maker is switching to the EV platform. because they are simply a superior product-something steven could not accept at the time.

          2. pgl

            February 1, 2023 at 7:51 am
            i think this is a bit too cynical. i don’t think steven wishes for ww3. but steven has a life that completely revolves around oil. and the more important and valuable oil is, the better. the angle towards putin and russia is probably not driven directly by ww3, but the thought that continued war mongering by russia will drive oil prices higher in the near term. and that is why steven is taking such a position.’

            Maybe but I thought Stevie’s world completely revolved around the price of his precious bagels. Then again if one produces oil and its price really does get to $180 a barrel, you can afford the best of NYC bagels.

          3. Moses Herzog

            I WANT to believe you. and take a more optimistic view, …….. ……… ??

            I credit you, Baffling, for viewing life in a positive way.

  4. Floxo

    Thankyou, a useful resource with one notable omission. The Chinn-Ito Index (kaopen) is an invaluable measure of the financial openness of a country over time. Incidentally, It makes a perfect addition to another favorite resource – the Penn World Tables (already listed above).
    Find it here:
    The notes to the index are well worth a read for an explanation of current trends. (Looks like emerging markets and less industrialized countries are not so keen these days).

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