Alex Peek blog

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Transparency and the world economy

I believe transparency is an important goal for every branch of knowledge. The goal of every scientist and researcher should be to shine light onto previously dark and unknown phenomena. The universe is complex and the goal of research is to make order out of it. is an economic data website that attempts to bring greater transparency to the world economy. This website was launched in 2015 and the format was originally proposed in 2013 as a sister project for the Wikimedia Foundation.


Macroeconomic data websites like World Bank Indicators and FRED have a large amount of economic statistics, but I believe they could do a better job at illustrating an economy in a concise, readable format. The format of Econ Factbook is designed to eliminate excess statistics and only display the structure of an economy. By focusing on the structure, I believe it can help people better understand an economy.


The format of Econ Factbook is based on the circular flow model (diagram below). The format has a section for each of the five main economic sectors: households, companies, government, banks and the central bank. Each section has a few statistics to illustrate the condition of that sector. In addition to these five sections, the format has a section for employment, industries and international accounts.



What can Econ Factbook be used for? I believe it would be difficult to analyze an intricate economic issue with this website. Instead, I think this question can be best answered by analogy with a globe. Nobody says a globe is useless due to its lack of direct practicality. It's meant to be an educational tool to help people to better understand our home planet. I believe that the same idea applies to Econ Factbook.


Econ Factbook currently has a page for all 193 UN member countries. I hope that someday every city and state in the world could also have their own page using this format. Presently, economic data about localities is difficult to find on the internet and I believe centralizing this data in a clear format would be useful.


I will conclude this post with a list statistics to show the complete format.


Basic statistics



GDP per capita

GDP growth rate



Table of largest regions ranked by GDP along with population, GDP per capita and GDP growth rate



Table of GDP by industry



Unemployment rate

Table of employment by industry



Table of the largest companies ranked by revenue along with their profit and assets



Total household assets

Total household debt

Household wealth per adult

Gini coefficient (inequality indicator)



Central government total revenue and expenditure

Central government total debt

Central government 10 year bond rate

State and local government revenue and expenditure

State and local government debt

List of public funds and assets

Personal income tax rates and thresholds

Corporate tax rate

Table of central government revenue by source

Table of central government expenditure by source


Central bank

Money supply (M0)

Benchmark interest rate

Total reserves

Exchange rate

Inflation rate



Table of the largest banks ranked by assets along with their revenue and profits


International accounts



Foreign direct investment inflow

Foreign direct investment outflow

Foreign aid inflow

Foreign aid outflow



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