B. Data availability and coverage
C. Specific issues
A. Economic Outlook Database (EODB)
Q: What is the OECD Economic Outlook Database (EODB)?
A: The Economic Outlook Database (EODB) is a comprehensive and consistent set of macroeconomic data. It contains the biannual macroeconomic forecasts for each OECD country and the OECD area as a whole. Almost all data shown in the statistical annex of the Economic Outlook publication can be found in EODB. For more information, see the EODB inventory.
Q: When is the EODB updated?
A: The Economic Outlook Database (EODB) is released twice a year: end of spring and end of autumn. The spring edition covers the period which goes up to current year +1. The autumn edition goes to current year +2.
Q: Is the number next to EO the edition number? What is the latest edition?
A: Yes it is the edition number. EO90 for example refers to the database which includes the data of the 90th edition of the Economic Outlook, autumn 2011, forecast up to 2013. (EO 91: spring 2012, forecast up to 2013; EO 92: autumn 2012, forecast up to 2014; etc.)
There is a permanent URL for the Economic Outlook page which is automatically updated to the latest edition:
Q: Where can I find the data?
Q: How can I access previous editions?
A: All editions are available in OECD.stat. However when clicking on editions before the 60th (editions 1 to 59), you will notice that all dimensions are empty. Between the 50th and the 59th edition, it is only possible to view the data in MS Excel format. Before the 50th edition, data are only visible in pdf format. Click on "Related files" to view the MS Excel or pdf file.
Q: Are the data public or do I need to register to access the data?
Q: What is the Flash file?
A: The flash file has been discontinued. Until EO93, the flash file was made public at the time of the press conference announcing the latest OECD forecasts. It was a short version of the EO database with around 15 indicators by country. The complete data set with detailed projections was made available a few days later. As from EO94, around 100 indicators (annual data) are made public at the time of the OECD Economic Outlook press conference.
B. Data availability and coverage
Q: What is the content of EODB ? Which countries? Which variables?
A: The Economic Outlook Database (EODB) includes data on all OECD countries and for selected non-Member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa). It also includes data on country groupings (OECD euro area, Total OECD, G7, Oil producers, World). Variables cover all major economic dimensions. For more information, see the EODB inventory.
Q: Are the series final, preliminary or projected? What are the last historical points?
A: For most countries, data over the three last years should be considered as provisional and subject to revisions. During this 3-year period national statistics offices compile more information and improve their estimates. All data before the last 3 years can be considered as final and actual, unless a change in definition or classification is implemented. All time series do not end up at the same date. The last historical points (actual and provisional) are given in a MS Excel file for each EODB edition. In OECD.stat, select a dataset under "economic projections" and then click on "Related files" to view the link to the MS Excel file with the last historical points.
Q: What is the data frequency in EODB? Quarterly? Annual? Are the quarterly data seasonally adjusted?
A: The public version of EODB includes annual data only. The complete version includes annual and quarterly data. All quarterly data are seasonally adjusted. Seasonal adjustment is mostly carried out by the original source National Statistical Offices and therefore varies by country. An up-to-date guide to current methods in use by country is available on the web. Where seasonally adjusted series are not available, adjustment is done in-house by the OECD using an X11-based method subject to annual constraints.
Q: What base years are used in EODB?
A: The EODB uses the reference year used by countries in their national official publications. The reference year is specific to each country. All national reference years are listed in the EODB inventory.
The base year for country groupings (for example OECD total) was 2005 in the 90 edition. This standard base year is changed approximately every 5 years.
Base years used in previous EODB editions are listed in a downloadable Excel file.
Q: What are the units? What is the currency in EODB?
A: All series (levels) are expressed in units, i.e. with power code = 0. Some indices refer to 1, others to 100. See the indicator title, the related metadata or the EODB inventory for more information.
All level data in EODB are expressed in national currency, except trade and country groupings which are shown in US dollars. Trade data are converted to US dollars using exchange rates. Country groupings are calculated using Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs). Read more about units and currency in EODB.
Q: What are the main changes since the last edition?
A: The EODB inventory contains a section on main changes since the last edition. Database content and structure adapts over time to reflect changes in the source data sets and new subjects studied by the OECD. Information relating to data quality, changes in statistical sources and methodologies, addition or suppression of specific variables is fully documented in the EODB inventory.
C. Specific issues
Q: How are growth rates calculated?
A: There are a number of different conventions used in expressing growth rates in the economics and statistics literature. Read more about Growth rates in EODB.
Q: What are the differences between the SNA93 and Maastricht definitions of government debt?
There are two main differences between the SNA93 and Maastricht definitions of debt. The first difference is that Maastricht gross debt does not include liabilities related to other accounts payable (comprising trade credits and advances), financial derivatives, and insurance technical reserves. The second difference concerns the valuation methodology.
The Maastricht definition evaluates debt at face value, which is equivalent to the amount that the government has to pay back to creditors at maturity. In contrast, the SNA93 employs market values. Maastricht debt is thus a better measure for assessing government refinancing needs, but the SNA93 captures more adequately the cost of buying back debt.
For non-tradable debt instruments market valuation is not available, requiring imputation of prices by some alternative methods. Also market valuation might be problematic for tradable instruments when markets are volatile or/and illiquid. Consequently, the SNA93 measure can be more volatile than the Maastricht one. Identifying the exact contributions of the various factors to differences in debt level according to the SNA93 and Maastricht definitions is not straightforward.
Q: Why do OECD data for gross financial liabilities differ from IMF estimates?
A: Government gross debt (gross financial liabilities) refers to the financial liabilities (short and long-term) of all the institutions in the general government sector, as defined in the SNA93/ESA95, typically mainly in the form of government bills and bonds.
Valuation of financial liabilities among countries can differ. SNA93/ESA95 require valuation at market value or by the amount the debtor must repay to extinguish the claim (for non-marketable liabilities), but some countries as the United States and Canada value government bonds at their face value. (i.e. at issue price).
The OECD data are based on SNA93, while the IMF World Economic Outlook data are based on the IMF Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM 2001). The major difference between GFSM2001 and SNA93/ESA95, regarding government debt, concerns unfunded pension liabilities, which are included in debt according to the GFSM 2001, but excluded in the SNA93/ESA95 data. Other, smaller differences between the two systems add to the discrepancy.
Q: How are country-groupings, such as the euro area, computed?
A: The euro area and the other country groupings are calculated within the database. They are not taken from another source. "Euro area" refers to the group of euro area countries that are at the same time members of the OECD. See the page on Sources and Methods for more information.
Q: What is the difference between the revenue statistics and the SNA Government revenues?
A: A system of national accounts (SNA) seeks to provide a coherent framework for recording and presenting the main flows relating respectively to production, consumption, accumulation and external transactions of a given economic area, usually a country or a major region within a country. Government revenues are an important part of the transactions recorded in SNA.
There are, however, some differences between the classification of taxes in the OECD Revenue Statistics and SNA concepts, which are listed below. They arise because the aim of the former is to provide the maximum disaggregation of statistical data on what are generally regarded as taxes by tax administrations.
a) OECD includes social security contributions in total tax revenues;
b) there are different points of view on whether or not some levies and fees are classified as taxes;
c) OECD excludes imputed taxes or subsidies resulting from the operation of official multiple exchange rates;
d) there are differences in the treatment of non-wastable tax credits.