The World Bank
Before I review this website, a few lines about the organisation in question.
The World Bank provides large loans for capital investment in developing countries. It is a United Nations financial institution and was established in 1944 along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Both institutions are based in Washington and work closely together.
The World Bank uses contextual information such as the economy, sociological factors and politics to determine what course of action to follow when dealing with the funding of each country. And it prides itself on its moral obligations when dealing with poverty reduction and sustainable development.
The website is huge but straightforward to use and provides free, open access to data about development in countries around the world.
Here is the page listing the data available: http://data.worldbank.org/
There is a wealth of information to be found covering mostly social, economic and financial aspects of almost every country in the world. And much of the content can be changed into different languages if required. The five support groups that comprise the World Bank each have their own pages covering their latest projects or you can do general searches by country, topic or indicators. I found ‘export of goods and services’ under the heading ‘Economic Growth’ and ‘vehicles per km of road’ under the heading ‘Infrastructure’. You then select the country you want to research. There is a huge choice of indicators that cover a wide range of subjects.
Click on this link to see the full list: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator
There is a ‘Multimedia’ section that provides amongst other things a ‘World Bank Google maps gallery’. Click on the link and then choose one of the subject-based maps such as’ life expectancy at birth’ and either click on the area of the world map you want to research or type the name of the country into the search bar. You are given a pop-up chart that indicates average world life expectancy with a comparison of the country in question. It is encouraging to see that in general, life expectancy has risen from 1963 (when records began) to 2011 (this is the latest year that statistics are available on this topic). Clicking on the ‘population’ map you can see that statistics go up to 2012. There is also a simple pop-up guide on how the information on each topic should be interpreted.
Click on this link to see all the topics covered: http://maps.google.com/gallery/publisher?pub=World+Bank+Group&hl=en
There are 240 country profiles and you can explore data views (stored queries) and create your own. If you need to find out how to create tables and charts there are videos to show you what to do.
Here is the World Bank Development Report for 2014. It is entitled: ‘Risk and opportunity:managing risk for development‘. It may take some time to download.
The ‘Blogs’ section is a forum for discussing development data issues and is led by World Bank specialists. It is regularly updated giving up-to-the-minute infomation linked to statistical data elsewhere on the website. There is a really useful analysis on world debt that economists may find interesting with lots of links to related data.
and is linked to social media sites including Twitter and Facebook.
There is a section for young entrepreneurs to get creative and be inspired by stories from around the world.
There is also an Open Access Repository which provides free documents and reports in PDF format on many subjects. Select by author, date or topic. I also tried a country search in the search bar at the top of the page, finding 525 documents for Brazil. Some were journal articles in journals we don’t subscribe to and some were not translated into English but at least bibliographic details are available should students wish to order an inter library loan. Also check on Discovery for similar resources. Clicking on the date parameter in the right hand column brought the results down to six documents recently published for 2014.
And there are webcasts and videos highlighting issues and projects. See Bert Hofman, Chief Economist of the Asia Pacific region, talk about China’s next Five Year Plan.
It’s all good stuff! I could spend weeks exploring this resource because there is so much to it. You can also sign up for email updates…..
but best of all EVERYTHING IS FREE !!
Photo by World Bank Photo Collection