Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck

Dept. of Economics | College of SSIS | Sacramento State
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Writing in Economics :: Additional Resources and References

Practical Guides for Economics Research
Useful Web Sites
Data Sources

ECON 145: Economic Research Methods (my section)
M.A. Theses in Economics (@ Sac. State)
Completing the M.A. Thesis in Economics



Practical Guides for Economics Research

In advising students on their research methods (ECON 145) projects and M.A. theses, I've found the following references very useful:

Writing Guides

  • Greenlaw, S. (2006) Doing Economics: A Guide to Understanding and Carrying Out Economic Research. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    This is a concise handbook that shows students the research process, step-by-step. It has useful information on how to complete the components of a research paper, writing in economics, data collection and transformation, and connecting economic theory to empirical methodology. Greenlaw (2006) is a good place to start if you are writing a research paper for the first time.

  • McCloskey, D. (2004) Economical Writing. 2nd Ed. Long Grove: Waveland Press.
    This is a guide to how to write in economics. It is the first thing any student should read if he/she is uncertain about style and language in economics research, or lacking confidence in your writing in general. McCloskey (2004) is a quick, and amusing, read.

  • Wyrick, R. (1994). The Economist's Handbook: A Research and Writing Guide. Minneapolis/St. Paul: West Publishing Company.
    A more comprehensive guide on writing in economics, with information on economic reports, summarizing debates in economics, and research papers. Wyrick (1994) is more comprehnsive than Greenlaw (2006), but it is somewhat dated. This is a good general handbook for students in economics - not just those writing research papers.

  • Strunk, W. & E.B. White (1999). The Elements of Style. Needleham Heights: Longman.
    An excellent general writing guide, covering basic composition, grammar, punctuation, and word use. Students should read this book before handing in any work for a grade.

Library Writing Guides/Style Sheets




Useful Web Sites

The following are web sites you may find useful. These sites are maintained by other researchers, universities, and organizations. Please report broken links to me.

Looking for search engines and access to research papers in Economics? See my Getting Started: The Literature Review page.

Definitions and Terms
Economics A-Z (from The Economist)
The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Online Glossary of Research Economics

More on Writing
Writing Style Quiz (from The Economist)- less that 12/12? Read McCloskey (2004) as a first step. Next, you should take your writing to the campus Writing Center on a regular basis to improve your writing skills.

Examples of Good and Bad Essays
- from the web site for Colander, D. (2003) Microeconomics, 5th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Miscellaneous Resources
Resources for Economists (RFE)
Online Books in Economics


Data Sources

Primary and Secondary Sources
Organizations that collect and publish data
Census Bureau Demographic data available by zip code, and general statistics including population data and foreign trade data. CensusScope compiles U.S. Census data in a user-friendly format.
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Major U.S. macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, capital stock, expenditures (consumption, investment, etc), national income, and government budget data.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment and price (inflation) data, such as the CPI, unemployment rate, and productivity data. This site includes access to important microeconomic data such as the National Longitudinal Surveys.
Federal Reserve System U.S. financial data including interest and exchange rates, money supply and reserves, bank balance sheet information, household assets and liabilities, and corporate debt.
Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) Longitudinal study of a representative sample of U.S. families. Includes data on poverty status, public assistance, labor market, socioeconomic background, and health.
California Department of Education Includes links to Data Quest and Ed-Data: state-, county-, district-, and school-level data on school performance and student characteristics.
California Department of Finance Includes links to the annual California Statistical Abstract and DOF Special Reports: state- and county-level economic and financial data, as well as county profiles and information on the state budget and
Energy Information Adminstration (EIA) State, national, and international energy data.
Department of Homeland Security State and national immigration statistics.
Secondary Sources

Federal Reserve Economics Database (FRED) Provides historical U.S. economic and financial data, including daily U.S. interest rates, monetary and business indicators, exchange rates, and balance of payments.
STAT-USA Point of access to authoritative business, trade, and economic information from across the federal government.
Counting California Easy access to a variety of federal, state, and local data, compiled from a variety of sources. An excellent place to start when looking for California regional, county, and city-level data.
RAND California Includes state-level, and California city- and county-level data in a variety of categories (e.g., demographic, education, macroeconomic).
White House Economics Statistics Briefing Room Easy access to current economic indicators provided by a number of federal agencies.
Economic Indicators Up-to-date economic data from the the U.S. Department of Commerce. This source also include calendars with release dates for key economic statistics.
Country Watch Country-level data, including demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental information, and macroeconomic forecasts.
International Monetary Fund Includes: (1) World Economic Outlook Database (complementing the IMF's biannual survey of world economic conditions) and (2) International Financial Statistics (macroeconomic, international, and domestic financial data for IMF member countries).
Penn World Tables Annual data for countries on macroeconomic and related aggregates, useful for cross-country comparisons.
Economagic Contains recent commonly-requested time series statistics. Free access has formatting that makes the data difficult to use.


©2007 Kristin Van Gaasbeck | Department of Economics | 6000 J Street | Sacramento, CA 95819-6082 | 916.278.6223