Politics Junior Paper Workshops

Resources for JP #10:
Comparative Political Economy

Country Background Information


  • Background Notes
    Factual publications prepared by the staff of the U.S. State Department that contain information on all the countries of the world with which the United States has relations. Each report contains information about the country's people, history, government, political conditions, economy, foreign relations, relations with the U.S., travel, and business. These reports are updated periodically.
  • EIU Country Reports & Profiles (PU only)
    The Economist Intelligence Unit is considered to be a definitive source of business intelligence. The EIU annual country profiles are updated by monthly country reports to provide detailed information on political and economic trends for 180 countries worldwide. Each includes annual and quarterly economic indicators, economic forecasts, information on domestic politics, international relations, economic growth, and foreign trade. 1996 forward are available online, earlier profiles and reports in paper are held in Firestone, check the catalog for more information.
  • Europa World (PU only)
    The online version of the indispensable Europa World Year Book published since 1926. Europa provides detailed up-to-date surveys of over 250 countries and territories, a comprehensive listing of over 1,650 international organizations, directory information, and current analysis. Includes essential names and addresses and other information covering such areas as a country's constitution, government, legislature, political organizations, diplomatic representation, religion, media, finance, trade, industry, transport, and tourism.
  • Global Development Finance.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: World Bank. Annual.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: HG4517 .I51
    Library Has: 1975-present
    Current Volume: Social Science Ready Reference (SSRC)
    Formerly the World Debt Tables, this is the World Bank’s annual review of trends of financial flows to developing countries, as well as projections of the global outlook in light of current global geopolitical uncertainties. The Summary and Country Tables provide comprehensive statistical data for 138 countries that report debt under the World Bank Debtor Reporting System, and summary data for regions and income groups. The data are also available online, see GDF Online.
  • Human Development Report.
    Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press. Annual.
    Location: United Nations Collection (UN)
    Call Number: HD72 .H85
    Library Has: 1990-present
    Produced by the United Nations Development Programme, the HDR series advocates a shift in the development debate away from a sole concern with economic growth toward a balanced concern for equity, sustainability, productivity and empowerment. The report's Human Development Index (HDI), offers an alternative to GNP as a measure of development. In addition to the global report, there are national, subnational, and regional reports for 135 countries. See the UNDP's Human Development Report page for more details.
  • Political Handbook of the World.
    Publisher: Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications. Annual.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: 7560.729
    Library Has: 1928-1970
    Call Number: JF37 .P6
    Library Has: 1975-present
    Current Volume: SSRC Ready Reference
    The Handbook provides essential political information about every country in the world, including heads of government, cabinet members, leaders and programs of political parties, representation in national legislatures, news media, and membership in international organizations. Its primary focus is on government and development of the country's political climate.
  • The Statesman's Yearbook.
    Publisher: New York: St. Martin's Press. Annual.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: JA51 .S7
    Library Has: 1876-
    Current Volume: SSRC Ready Reference
    Similar to the Political Handbook, the Yearbook also provides detailed information about all the countries of the world. Its focus is on social and development indicators. Each entry includes a small map for quick geographical orientation, as well as a list of references for further reading.
  • World Development Report.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: World Bank. Annual.
    Location: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Call Number: HC59.7 .W6
    Library Has: 1978-present
    This annual report discusses the state of the world economy and prospects for the next decade. Recent volumes have been dedicated to particular themes such as the environment, health investment, and poverty. The statistical appendix, World Development Indicators, provides tables of economic data that allow the researcher to compare countries, see WDI Online.
  • World Factbook
    Publisher: Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency. Annual.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: G122 .U56a
    Library Has: 1981-present
    Current Volume: SSRC Ready Reference
    This annual publication of the Central Intelligence Agency provides profiles of countries throughout the world. Each country profile begins with a brief historical background and includes information about geography, population, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues.
More Tips on Finding Books


In addition to using keywords to search the Main Catalog, you might also try a subject heading approach. Use the name of the country you are researching as a subject heading in the Basic Search. For example, type Iran and select Subject Heading from the pull-down menu. The resulting list of subject headings will help to outline the kinds of material held in Princeton's collection that relate to Iran. Click on a subject heading to see a list of titles that deal with that topic.

Remember that traveling down the list of headings will take you to subjects that are further sub-divided and, therefore, more specific. Traveling up the list gets you subjects that are more general. Here are some sub-headings that should be useful:

  • [country name]--History
  • [country name]--Politics and government
  • [country name]--Foreign relations
  • [country name]--Foreign economic relations
  • [country name]--Economic conditions
  • [country name]--Social conditions

Pay special attention to items listed under the sub-headings Politics and government and Economic conditions, as these items will likely deal with the political development and economy of that country. Also, be aware that subject headings are often sub-divided by time periods, which can help you focus on works that deal specifically with certain events and key moments in a country's history (i.e. Iran Economic conditions 1979-1997).

Additional Databases


In addition to the main Politics databases we've already discussed, there are several other databases that are useful for locating journal articles, book chapters, working papers, etc. Be sure to consult the many useful resources listed under the area studies pages, including African Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and Russian/Slavic Studies. You might also wish to consult my list of resources for locating working papers in politics.

  • ABI Inform (PU only)
    A comprehensive index to worldwide business periodicals. Provides in-depth coverage of business and economic conditions, management techniques, theory and practice of business, advertising, marketing, economics, human resources, finance, and taxation.
  • CIAO - Columbia International Affairs Online (PU only)
    CIAO publishes online a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, NGO occasional papers, foundation-funded research projects, conference proceedings, books, journals, and policy briefs.
  • EconLit (PU only)
    Provides citations and selected abstracts of journal articles, books, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings and book reviews dating back to 1969. Covers topics including regional and international economics, urban economics, economic development, fiscal and monetary theory, business and public finance.
  • ERIC (PU only)
    ERIC is a complete bibliography of education materials featuring published and unpublished sources of thousands of educational topics, with information from the index Resources in Education and the Current Index to Journals in Education.
  • Historical Abstracts (PU only)
    This database has long been recognized as the leading bibliography providing unmatched coverage of world history (excluding North America) dealing with time periods from 1450 to the present. It covers approximately 2,000 journals, as well as books and dissertations published worldwide since the mid 1950s in history and related areas, including anthropology, genealogy, multicultural studies, political science, and sociology.
  • JOLIS Library Catalog
    JOLIS is the joint library network catalog of the 13 World Bank and International Monetary Fund libraries in Washington, DC, and provides detailed coverage of literature in the fields of international economics, development, and finance. This catalog includes references to books, journal titles, journal articles, working papers, conference proceedings, and technical reports, with links to full-text items when available.
  • JSTOR (PU only)
    JSTOR is a special collection of academic journals that have been made available in full text online. The titles covered in JSTOR range back to the very first issue, but only go forward to about 3-5 years ago. You can browse and search across different subject areas and journal titles. Note: While JSTOR is a very useful collection of journals, it is not by any means comprehensive. Be sure to also search for your topic in the other article databases listed here.
  • Policyfile (PU only)
    Provides indexing and abstracts of research publications addressing the complete range of public policy research. PolicyFile draws its content from public policy think tanks, university research programs, research organizations, and trade publishers. The database consists of over 50,000 abstracts dating from 1990 to present, with some full-text where available and links to organizational home pages.
  • RAND Publications
    A nonprofit public policy research institution established after World War II to study national security, in the 1960s RAND added domestic policy problems to its research agenda. Current areas of research and analysis include national defense, education and training, health care, criminal and civil justice, labor and population, science and technology, community development, international relations, and regional studies. The publications database goes back to 1946, with online versions of many documents available generally as of 1998. See the RAND Publications Research Guide for more help in locating RAND publications held in Princeton libraries.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (PU only)
    Multidisciplinary index to more than 1,725 journals in the social and behavioral sciences. This database covers works published 1956-present, and is very useful for tracing the chain of citations in social science literature. Use SSCI to find references to articles that were cited in a given article, as well as other articles that cite that article.
  • Sociological Abstracts (PU only)
    Indexing and abstracting of the world's literature in sociology and related disciplines, both theoretical and applied. Covers 2,500 journals, conference papers, dissertations, and book reviews. Includes materials in 30 languages and covers works published 1963-present.
  • SourceOECD (PU only)
    This is the online library of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The database contains all the OECD's monographs, reports, and periodicals published from 1998 onwards, as well as the OECD's statistical databases. The books and reports are gathered into 20 thematic collections. The interface for SourceOECD can be somewhat difficult to navigate, so if you have trouble be sure to consult the staff at the Social Science Reference Center for help. Many earlier OECD publications are held in Firestone.
  • StratFor (PU only)
    Founded in 1996, StratFor (short for “Strategic Forecasting”) provides up-to-date geopolitical analysis and forecasts focused on international political, economic, and security issues.
  • World Bank e-Library (PU only)
    A full-text database of over 1,200 World Bank titles, including each new book as it is published. The publications are searchable by broad subject or by geographic regions.
News Sources


News sources can be very useful for finding primary coverage of specific events, as well as feature articles and editorials related to your topic. For additional resources, be sure to consult the Newspaper Indexes page.

Contemporary News (mid-1980s to present):

  • Lexis Nexis Academic (PU only)
    Provides full text access to news from across the U.S. and around the world. Coverage of most newspapers goes back to the mid 1980s, but varies widely. Also provides access to business, legal, and medical journals, as well as corporate financial information. Click on News in the red bar to begin your search.
  • NewsBank Full-Text Newspapers (PU only)
    Provides full-text of many major national and regional newspapers from the United States and around the world.
  • Factiva (PU only)
    Database from Dow Jones & Reuters that provides full text access to various newspapers and news wire services.
  • ProQuest Newspapers (PU only)
    Provides indexing and full text of the Wall Street Journal (1984- ) and the New York Times (1980- ) and abstracts only of USA Today (1989- ).
  • Google - News
    Google News pulls together related headlines and photos from approximately 4,500 news sources worldwide, automatically arranging them to present the most relevant news first. Google News enables you to see how different news organizations around the world report the same events. Stories are updated continuously throughout the day, making this an especially useful source for breaking news.

Historical News (back to mid-1800s):

  • Historical New York Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers) (PU only)
    Provides retrospective coverage of the New York Times going back to the first issue (1851-2004) in full text. Search by keywords and date.
  • Historical Wall Street Journal (ProQuest Historical Newspapers) (PU only)
    Provides retrospective coverage of the Wall Street Journal going back to the first issue (1889-1990) in full text. Search by keywords and date.
  • Historical Washington Post (ProQuest Historical Newspapers) (PU only)
    Provides retrospective coverage of the Washington Post going back to the first issue (1877-1991) in full text. Search by keywords and date.
  • Reader's Guide Retrospective (PU only)
    This retrospective online version of the ever-popular Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature contains comprehensive indexing of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the U.S. between the years 1890-1982.

Foreign News (1975-present):

  • Finding World Newspapers at Princeton
    This is a very helpful guide compiled by our History Librarian Elizabeth Bennett that offers some guidance on locating foreign newspapers of interest.
  • ABYZ News Links
    ABYZ News Links is a portal to online news sources from around the world. It is primarily composed of links to newspaper pages but also includes links to many broadcast stations, internet services, magazines, and press agencies. Be aware that the actual news sources you will ulimately find are likely not to be in English.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service Electronic Index (PU only)
    Provides indexing to the Daily Reports of the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service. These reports include translated broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals, and government statements from nations around the world. Search by keyword, region and date.
    Note: This index only covers reports from 1975-1996, which are mostly available in microfiche with some in paper. Ask for help locating these reports at the Social Science Reference Center. For earlier material, contact me. For more recent material, see the World News Connection below.
  • World News Connection (PU only)
    Continues coverage of the FBIS reports mentioned above from 1996 to present, and with full text. The search functions are similar (by keyword, region, and date) with a "latest headlines" feature for monitoring current news.
Statistical Sources


For more help finding economic statistics and data for specific countries, be sure to consult the Basic Sources of Economics Statistics page. For assistance in data analysis, see the folks at Data & Statistical Services.

  • EIU Country Data (PU only)
    A service of the Economist Intelligence Unit that provides international economic data and forecasts on a time series basis. Data are derived from national governments, trade associations, BIS, IMF, IFC, OECD, the World Bank, and EIU's own researchers. A related product, EIU Market Indicators and Forecasts (formerly EIU Country Indicators) provides more social and political risk data. EIU also provides detailed cost comparisons of major international cities in EIU City Data.
  • Foreign Statistical Abstracts Collection
    The library maintains a collection of current statistical yearbooks for various countries, arranged by country name, in the Social Science Reference Center. Some of these are available in English or in dual languages, but many are in the native language of the country. Earlier yearbooks will be available generally under the same call number in Firestone stacks. See the SSRC staff for more information.
  • GDF Online
    GDF Online is the web version of the data tables from the World Bank's annual Global Development Finance Report. Select data by region, country, series and years.
  • WDI Online
    WDI Online is the web version of World Development Indicators, the World Bank's statistical appendix to the World Development Report. Select data by country, series and years.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census. Annual.
    Location: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Library Has: 1865-present
    Current Volume: SSRC Ready Reference
    Statistical compendium that covers a wide variety of topics, including population, vital statistics, health and nutrition, education, law enforcement, environment, parks and recreation, elections, government finance and employment, defense, human services, labor, income and expenditures, prices, banking and finance, business, communications and information technology, energy, science and technology, transportation, agriculture, natural resources, construction and housing, manufactures and trade. Tables provide summary statistics with footnotes indicating sources for more detailed data.
  • Statistical Universe (PU only)
    Provides indexing and abstracts to federal, state, and international statistical publications as well as selected business and professional publications containing statistics. Many statistical tables are available in full text, and direct links to many web-accessible statistical sources are also provided. Statistical Universe is the web equivalent of the print American Statistics Index, Statistical Reference Index, and Index to International Statistics; and provides indexing for the corresponding ASI, SRI and IIS microfiche sets located on the C-Floor of Firestone. IIS provides abstracts for reports and other statistical publications issued by IGOs such as the United Nations, IMF, World Bank, and OECD.

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Page last updated: October 20, 2005

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