Loading Library Hours...

Guide to Sources in Economics

Guide to Sources in Economics


Call NumbersJournals & Blogs | Article & Journal Databases | Statistical Sources & Datasets | Political Economy | Research Methods & Writing Guides | Cited Works | Grey Literature



Location of Materials

All titles listed in this guide are located in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library Reference Collection unless otherwise noted. The location SSHEL RCC indicates the item is held in the SSHEL Reference Circulating Collection.



Call Numbers

Call numbers are groups of numbers and/or letters that classify library items by subject. Items are arranged on bookshelves by call number. The Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) uses both the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems.

Economics Call Numbers



Journals & Blogs

Online journals can be accessed through the Journal Search. Journals can be searched by title or ISBN. When using the “Title” search, enter all or part of the journal’s title.

Top 19 Journals in the Field of Economics

  1. Quarterly Journal of Economics (Founded 1886)
  2. American Economic Review (Founded 1911)
  3. Econometrica (Founded 1933)
  4. The Review of Economic Studies (Founded 1933)
  5. Journal of Monetary Economics (Founded 1975)
  6. The Review of Economics and Statistics (Founded 1919)
  7. International Economic Review (Founded 1960)
  8. Journal of Economic Theory (Founded 1969)
  9. European Economic Review (Founded 1969)
  10. Journal of Econometrics (Founded 1973)
  11. The Journal of Economic Perspectives (Founded 1987)
  12. The Journal of Political Economy (Founded 1946)
  13. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics (Founded 1983)
  14. Games and Economic Behavior (1989)
  15. Economic Journal (Founded 1891)
  16. Journal of International Economics (Founded 1971)
  17. Journal of Public Economics (Founded 1972)
  18. The Rand Journal of Economics (Founded 1973)
  19. Journal of Labor Economics (Founded 1983)


This list was created by comparing the top 20 ranked journals on published lists. Each journal that appeared in the top 20 of these lists was assigned a value by adding the journal’s rank numbers from each list, creating a composite rank. The list was then sorted based on this composite rank.

Engemann, K. and H.J. Wall. “A Journal Ranking for the Ambitious Economist,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review. May/June 2009 pp 127-139

Kodrzycki, Y.K. and P.D. Yu. “New Approaches to Ranking Economics Journals,” Working Papers of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. September 9, 2005

For additional information on economics journal rankings, see the following articles available.

Liner, G.H. (2007). “Core journals in economics.Economic Inquiry, 40 (1), 138-145. Access through UIUC.

Lo, M., Wong, M.C.S., & Mixon, F.G. Jr. (2008). “Ranking economics journals, economics departments, and economists using teaching-focused research productivity.” Southern Economic Journal, 74 (3), 894-906.


Econ Academics Blog
The Econ Academics Blog aggregates various scholarly economics blogs from around the world. Some of the blogs keep up to date, others do not, but the aggregator will list the latest posts.  The blog also lists criteria for blogs that did not make the front page or the main lists for RSS feeds.



Article & Journal Databases

Databases are structured sets of information, stored in print or online. Often, databases are online collections of journal article citations and full-text. Find articles about a specific topic by using keywords, subject heading, authors, and more.

Business Source Ultimate
Provides bibliographic and full text content, including indexing and abstracts for scholarly business journals back as far as 1886 and full text journal articles in all disciplines of business, including marketing, management, MIS, POM, accounting, finance and economics. The database full text content includes financial data, books, monographs, major reference works, book digests, conference proceedings, case studies, investment research reports, industry reports, market research reports, country reports, company profiles, SWOT analyses and more.

The Economist Historical Archive
Access historical archives of The Economist from 1843 to 2003.  These issues have been scanned in PDF form so you can see all images and advertisements as well as access articles.

Nexis Uni
Features more than 15,000 news, business and legal sources, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790. Includes current news, business information, company directories, federal and state laws, regulations, legal cases, and more.

ProQuest One Business
This is a comprehensive database of scholarly journals, magazines, trade publications, newspapers, books, reports, dissertations, and working papers. To search for a topic, use the Advanced Search page and enter your search terms. The drop-down menus are helpful for specifying where those terms should appear inside each item in the results list. To find similar terms, click on Thesaurus and search for a subject. Click on the term or yellow box beside the term to find narrower, broader or related terms.



Statistical Sources & Datasets

Statistical sources contain numerical facts or data. A database is a collection of data. 

Financial Data Sets

Bloomberg is useful in extracting sovereign debt, commodities, and other financial data. Bloomberg terminals are available in the Margolis Market Information Lab in the Business Instructional Facility located at 515 East Gregory Drive, Champaign.

Mergent Online
Includes U.S. Company Data and International Company Data. Rich textual descriptions offer a wealth of detail on items including business description, history, property, subsidiaries, officers and directors, long-term debt and capital stock. Annual reports for most companies are available back to 1996.

Economic Data Sets

“This page is meant to be a comprehensive site of free, easily available economic time series data useful for economic research, in particular economic forecasting. This site (set of web pages) was started in 1996… At this time, there are more than 100,000 time series for which data and custom charts can be retrieved. Though the greatest utility of this site is the vast number of economic time series, and the easily modified charts of that same data, an overlooked facility of great utility is the availability of Excel files for all series. The majority of the data is USA data. The core data sets involve US macroeconomic data (that is, for the whole US), but the bulk of the data is employment data by local area — state, county, MSA, and many cities and towns.” (Text from the “Help” page within the database.)

Economic Census
Economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau from 1977 to the most recent economic census in 2022.  Includes various interactive data tools.

Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER)
“A digital library of U.S. economic, financial and banking history.” Provides historical economic data, information about the operation of the Federal Reserve, many archival collections and classroom materials.

International Financial Statistics Online
This resource has time-series data for more than 200 countries and areas, exchange rates and fund position for member countries as well as information about national accounts, interest rates, inflation, etc. Maintained by the International Monetary Fund. Once in the IMF eLibrary, select ‘International Financial Statistics (IFS)’ from the Datasets tab. For definitions of data terms, click here for Manuals and Guides. For database help, click “Help” in the upper right-hand corner of the IMF eLibrary homepage.

OECD iLibrary
Furnishes statistics, papers, and selected special reports on the member countries of OECD; covers various aspects of economies including education, economy, infrastructure, and trade.

UN Comtrade
This resource is a database of over 170 countries who report to the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) their annual international trade statistics data detailed by commodities and partner countries. Lag time is generally two years. According to the UN Comtrade website, “commodities are classified according to SITC (Rev.1 from 1962, Rev.2 from 1976 and Rev.3 from 1988), the Harmonized System (HS) (from 1988 with revisions in 1996, 2002 and 2007) and Broad Economic Categories (BEC).  Time series of data for reporter countries starts as far back as 1962 and goes up to the most recent completed year.” The “how to query” manual is here (sign in is required to access). Another UN dataset of interest to political economists is the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, which provides 100 economic trend indicators for over 200 countries.  Time series go back to 2000.

World Bank Data Catalog
World Bank’s data catalog is a web page of datasets available via Open Access (for free). In the catalog are the following datasets of interest to economics researchers:



Political Economy

Competitiveness Indexes/Ratings

Economic Freedom of the World
Economic Freedom of the World is published annually by Economic Freedom Network and hosted on the web by the Fraser Institute. The data are pulled from different sites, such as the World Economic Forum and PricewaterhouseCoopers.  The United States member of this network is the Cato Institute.

Q. 337.021 W893
World Competitiveness Yearbook – International Institute for Management Development. 1996-.
Provides a multi-dimensional approach to benchmark a country’s performance to global economies. Analyzes and ranks each nation’s ability to provide an environment that sustains the competitiveness of enterprises. Divided into four main categories: Economic Performance, Government Efficiency, Business Efficiency, and Infrastructure. Helpful graphs show rankings in terms of population, GDP, and region. Detailed explanation of methods is provided.

Index of Economic Freedom
The Index of Economic Freedom covers 10 specific freedoms such as trade freedom, business freedom, investment freedom, and property rights in 184 countries.

Country Reports

EIU Viewpoint
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) provides quarterly analysis and forecasts of the political, economic and business environment in more than 195 countries. Included in each country report is a detailed review and analysis of political and economic events, a compilation of the latest economic indicators as well as an 18 month political outlook and economic projection. Quarterly and annual statistics with at least 150 data points picked from reliable sources and reviewed by Economist Intelligence Unit analysts to provide consistent, objective and impartial coverage.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Reports
Reports and statistics about a country’s economic conditions, developments and issues. Provides articles, news announcements, and analyses published by IMF staff.

Emerging Markets Information Service
It delivers hard-to-get information on more than 80 emerging markets through its award-winning online Emerging Markets Information Service. It aggregates and produces unique content including full-text news articles, financial statements, company information, industry analyses, equity quotes, macroeconomic statistics, and market-specific information, which are derived directly from more than 13,000 local and global publications.



Research Methods & Writing Guides

Research guides provide suggestions for finding and using information. Writing guides can help manage and create citations, develop a research plan, and write specific types of articles or papers.

LB2369 .H36 2023 (SSHEL Stacks) and Online
Writing a postgraduate thesis or dissertation : tools for success, 2023. 

808.02 M441g2003 (Main Stacks and Communications Library) and Online
Guide to the Successful Thesis and Dissertation, 2003.
Contents include how to get started, the role of a Research Advisor, developing a proposal, preparation, the thesis committee, conducting the study, etc.



Cited Works

The following resources below are databases which contain citation counts for articles.

Business Source Ultimate
In addition to publications and company information, you can look up citation references for an author, title, source, or year. On the top orange bar, click on “Cited References” to pull up this screen:

a screenshot of the business source ultimate database's cited references feature, with boxes for filling in cited author, title, source, year, or all citation fields

Google Scholar

For journal abbreviations, defer to the ones listed in Web of Science. Some tips from Google:

  • An author search is one of the most effective ways to find a specific paper. If you know who wrote the paper you’re looking for, you can simply add their last name to the search terms.
    • For example: The search [friedman regression] returns papers on the subject of regression written by people named Friedman. If you want to search using an author’s full name, or last name and initials, enter the name in quotes: [“jh friedman”].
  • When a word is both a person’s name and a common noun, you might want to use the “author:” operator. This operator only affects the search term that immediately follows it, and there must be no space between “author:” and your search term.
    • For example: [author:flowers] returns papers written by people with the name Flowers, whereas [flowers -author:flowers] returns papers about flowers, and ignores papers written by people with the name Flowers (a minus in front of a search term excludes results that contain this search term).
  • You may use the author operator with an author’s full name in quotes to further refine your search. Try to use initials rather than full first names, because some sources indexed in Google Scholar only provide the initials.

Publish or Perish
Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following statistics:

  • Total number of papers
  • Total number of citations
  • Average number of citations per paper
  • Average number of citations per author
  • Average number of papers per author
  • Average number of citations per year
  • Hirsch’s h-index and related parameters
  • Egghe’s g-index
  • The contemporary h-index
  • The age-weighted citation rate
  • Two variations of individual h-indices
  • An analysis of the number of authors per paper.

Scopus identifies scientific articles in over 14,000 peer-reviewed journals from more than 4,000 international publishers. Multidisciplinary coverage includes health, agriculture, chemistry, physics, life sciences, mathematics, engineering, earth and environmental sciences, social science, psychology, and economics, business and management. Includes citation counts via “citation tracker” button and one can set up e-mail alerts.
To Perform a Search

  • Basic search: Begin your search directly from the homepage. Search by article title, author, keyword, etc.
  • Advanced search: Enter a command line search using Boolean operators.

View Your Results

  • Tabular display of results allows you to easily sort results according to date, relevance, authors, source title and number of citations (cited-by’s).
  • Refine Results gives you a quick overview of all of your results according to source title, author name, year, document type and subject area.
  • Search within results allows you to search again through all fields within your results list.

Refer to Your Search History

  • A session-based overview of up to 50 searches allows you to review results, edit your searches, save them for a future session or set up an alert to receive new results by email.

Web of Science
Web of Science indexes journals and provides complete bibliographic data, full length author abstracts, and cited references. This can also be used to find reviews. Note: Many business journals are not indexed by the Web of Science. See other resources for citation counts.



Grey Literature

The following resources below can be used to locate papers which may or may not be published in journals and to locate other avenues in getting your papers presented or published.

BLS Economic Working Papers
This site provides a complete list (and some full-text) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Working Papers.

CEPREMAP (Centre pour la recherche economique et ses applications)
A source of economic working papers from the Francophone world.  Many are written in English.

Working Papers and Technical Reports in Business, Economics and Law
A source for working papers and grey literature in business, economics, and law provided by the Library of Congress.  Most are links to Central Banks and Think Tanks’ working papers, all in one place for convenience.

Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
This site provides working papers from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Papers appear in Acrobat PDF format.

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – Fed in Print
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco maintains this comprehensive index to Federal Reserve economic research.

IDEAS hosts a large database of working papers dedicated to Economics and Finances.

International Monetary Fund – IMF Publications

NBER Working Papers
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) provides working papers online in full text.

RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) is a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 103 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in economics. The heart of the project is a decentralized database of working papers, journal articles and software components. All RePEc material is freely available.”

Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
Contains thousands of titles and abstracts of working papers. NBER working papers are also listed in the service and as Illinois has a subscription to NBER, it links directly to the paper. Directions for signing up:

  • Click the SSRN link above
  • In the top bar of the homepage, click the Subscribe button
  • A new window will open. Click the “Subscribe/Unsubscribe to Journals” link near the bottom of the page
  • Type in your e-mail address where it says “New Members: Create a free SSRN User HQ membership” and click “Join SSRN”
  • Fill out your personal information and create a password
  • Login with your user name (your U of I Net ID) and the password you create

Sections/journals related to economics include Entrepreneurship, Legal, Economics, Accounting, Financial Economics, and Management.

World Bank
Research at the World Bank.