Improving the Accessibility of the Nber's Historical Data

18 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2000 Last revised: 22 Sep 2010

See all articles by Daniel R. Feenberg

Daniel R. Feenberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeffrey A. Miron

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 1995

Abstract

During the early years of its existence, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) assembled an extensive data set on all aspects of the pre-WWII macroeconomy. Until 1978, this data set existed only on the handwritten sheets to which the early NBER researchers copied the data from original sources. In 1978, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) transferred the data to magnetic tape. A number of researchers have used the ICPSR tape, but two key problems discourage many from taking advantage of this unique data set. The first is that modern econometric software does not have the ability to read the obsolete ICPSR format. The second is that the process of transferring the data from the NBER's handwritten sheets to the ICPSR tape introduced a number of mistakes. We have eliminated these two impediments to the use of the NBER data set by converting the ICPSR tape to a portable format and by verifying the accuracy of the data using the NBER's original handwritten sheets. The data set is now available on the Internet and can be accessed using standard gopher or web-browser software.

Suggested Citation

Feenberg, Daniel R. and Miron, Jeffrey A., Improving the Accessibility of the Nber's Historical Data (July 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5186. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225249

Daniel R. Feenberg (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-588-0343 (Phone)

Jeffrey A. Miron

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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