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International economic data

Real-time historical dataset for the OECD

About the real-time historical dataset for the OECD

This website provides access to a comprehensive quarterly international real-time dataset assembled from hard copies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Main Economic Indicators. The vintage dates cover the period from 1962:Q1 to 1998:Q4, with data in the earliest vintages typically going back to 1956:Q1. The dates and coverage of the data allow an interested researcher to easily splice the dataset together with the official OECD Main Economic Indicators' Original Release Data and Revisions Database, which contains continuously updated monthly vintages starting in January 1999. These data are available on the web at

Our dataset covers the 26 OECD countries for which sufficient data were available: U.S., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and U.K. For each country, we have recorded 13 variables: real and nominal GNP/GDP, price level (GNP/GDP deflator index), industrial production, manufacturing production, capacity utilization rate, unemployment rate, consumer price index, money supply, capital holdings, imports, exports and net capital movements.

As is usual in real-time datasets, we store each variable in matrix form. Each successive column vector of the matrix represents the "vintage" of quarterly data, containing the information available at that vintage date. The data are presented in separate single-sheet Excel files (one file per country per variable). The reported figures, taken from the hard-copy publications of the OECD Main Economic Indicators, are from the public domain in the corresponding vintage. We named each vintage with the date the Main Economic Indicators' publication was released to the public, regardless of the exact date the data were collected or the time the publication spent in print. For example, if a country's data were collected during the first days of January 1991, coalesced in one issue of Main Economic Indicators later that month and finally printed in February 1991, we called this vintage "February 1991." For each quarterly vintage, we record data as they were published in the middle month of each quarter (February, May, August and November).

For a more detailed description of the database, refer to:
"The Real-Time Historical Database for the OECD," by Adriana Z. Fernandez, Evan F. Koenig and Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper no. 96, December 2011.

The database is provided on an "as is" basis. This is not a commercial project; hence, we are not able to provide assistance with downloading, extracting or interpreting the data.

Related Reading

Why are some variables missing for some of the countries?

  • Unfortunately, the coverage of different countries in the OECD Economic Indicators was not homogenous, hence the missing data.

Why are most of the data above the main diagonal missing?

  • This is the nature of real-time data. Because the issues of Main Economic Indicators contain only a limited number of observations (usually, 8–10 quarters), the earlier data in each vintage are missing. The standard approach is to fill in the missing values by assuming that prior vintages correctly measure the variable's earlier growth rate.
Contact Information

For questions, comments or suggestions about the data or to communicate errors you have found, please contactValerie Grossman: