Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

UK Economics Database 2002 and World Development, Europe and USA 2002

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

UK Economics Database 2002 and World Development, Europe and USA 2002

Article excerpt

UK Economics Database 2002 and World Development, Europe and USA 2002, Statistics for Education, 2002, database files by e-mail, prices - see below, tel 01279 652183 or order on line at www.statsed.co.uk.

In order to reduce costs, the latest versions of the SECOS material are available via e-mail - zipped files that teachers can then install on their machines. All of the files, even unzipped, could be easily stored on a normal floppy disc for using on separate, stand alone machines.

As with previous versions, and I remember them from when I first started teaching almost 15 years ago, the variety of data presented is impressive.

I tested two sets of data. The UK Economics Database 2002 covers markets at work, including useful data on emerging themes in 'A' level specifications like sport and leisure, transport and the environment, business economics, the labour market, income and wealth, the national economy and trade and payments. For business students, this data will be especially useful for work on the business environment.

The second set of data is entitled World Development, Europe and the USA. This is broken down into three subsets: one focuses on developed economies; the second on transitional economies and the third, on world development, contains data on a staggering 148 countries. Go ahead and count them! Admittedly the data for some of the countries is less than complete, particularly for the former Soviet nations and parts of Africa. But the authors, I think, are to be commended for unearthing the data they have - and in the process saving the rest of us a lot of time and effort! Colleagues teaching any course on European or development economics will be particularly grateful.

The data is made available in two separate forms. Teachers have the opportunity to use it with the SECOS for Windows software or with Microsoft Excel. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses.

For the computer literate, Excel may seem the better option - particularly since the ways of presenting the data in various graphical forms is far more powerful, particularly if you are using a more recent version. On the other hand, the SECOS version, whilst often presenting data in simpler forms, does do more for you automatically - like labelling axes and creating legends. The ease with which you can, for example, add the actual figure to a pie chart after the event is also useful. Where using SECOS definitely has the upper hand is with regional and international data, which can be presented in map form with a couple of mouse clicks - very useful indeed. …

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