The Australian Macro Database

February 15, 2017
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(This article was originally published at Hyndsight, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

AusMacroData is a new website that encourages and facilitates the use of quantitative, publicly available Australian macroeconomic data.  The Australian Macro Database hosted at ausmacrodata.org provides a user-friendly front end for searching among over 40000 economic variables and is loosely based on similar international sites such as the Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED). 

In total, data on 40,304 variables are available for download from AusMacroData.  The majority of variables are sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and include data on national accounts, balance of payments and trade, housing and finance, labour force consumer price indices. Additional data on banking, money, interest rates and business and consumer sentiment, sourced from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) are also available for download.  The Australian Macro Database is updated data daily at 3am Australian Eastern Standard Time. and up to date information on ABS release schedules are also provided on the site. 

There are alternative ways to search for data depending on the needs of the researcher.  These include browsing through an intuitive hierarchy of categories, a generic search box, and filtering using keywords known as “tags”.  Other user friendly features include interactive plots and an ‘add to list’ function that allows users to download multiple series in a similar fashion to the way a ‘shopping cart’ is used on popular retail websites.  A more detailed description of how best to use the website is also available.

An important goal of this site is to encourage and facilitate reproducibility of research. We will provide links to download data compiled for specific research papers.  A major point of difference from similar repositories that already exist is that the Australian Macro Database will provide a link to a continuously updated version of the data in addition to a link providing the exact data that was used in the paper. 

The site is the result of efforts by a research team of Timur Behlul, George Athanasopoulos, Rob Hyndman, Anastasios Panagiotelis and Farshid Vahid from the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at Monash University,  The work was supported by the Australian Research Council discovery project DP140103220: “Macroeconomic forecasting in a ‘Big Data’ world”.

The Australian Macro Database is an ongoing project and feedback can be provided via email at ausmacrodata@gmail.com. We hope that the Australian Macro Database will be a useful tool for research into the Australian economy for academics and practitioners alike.



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