Economic Transformation Database (ETD)

This project aims to provide sectoral data on employment and productivity in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, to facilitate structural change.

Date Published
9 Dec 2020
Expected Start Date
01 Jan 2021
Expected End Date
31 Dec 2023
Project Type
Research and Capacity Development
Project Status

Are developing countries de-industrializing? Several scholars and international organisations (including Rodrik, Palma, Felipe, the IMF) have demonstrated de-industrialisation trends, using different datasets. Yet, these datasets do not cover many of the low-income developing countries and the recent decade. The Economic Transformation Database provides a much-needed representative and up to date dataset to examine the transformation of economies.

The Economic Transformation Database (ETD) provides comprehensive, long-term, and internationally comparable sectoral data on employment and productivity in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Constructed in partnership with the Groningen Growth and Development Centre (GGDC) of the University of Groningen, it is the successor of the GGCD 10-sector database. Within the framework of the UNU-WIDER 2019-23 work programme, the project contributes to the Institute’s Theory of Change’s (ToC) immediate outcome of changes in use of research and policy analysis skills, systems and an expanded toolbox of evidence-based policy models and data systems for progressive socially inclusive development.Comparative studies of sectoral growth are hampered by the lack of a large-scale international database on output and productivity trends by sector in developing countries. Open and free to use, the new ETD database will allow users to look at how industries develop and workers move from one sector to another over time and to analyze patterns and causes of structural transformation and productivity growth in developing countries at the country, regional, or cross-country level. As a tool, the database aims to support the design and implementation of policies facilitating structural change especially in low-income countries.

The ETD will include data for:

  • 51 developing countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia.
  • 12 sectors of the economy following the ISIC rev. 4 industry classification.
  • Time series with annual data from 1990 until 2018.
  • Sectoral values of value added in current prices in local currency, value added in constant 2015 prices in local currency, value added price deflators (2015=1), and persons engaged.

The data from ETD is also relevant in the UNU-WIDER project Structural Transformation – old and new paths to Economic Development.

Upon the launch of the UNU-WIDER Work Programme 2019-2023 the research programme was divided into 6 flagship projects. Two years into the work programme these flagships have matured into several standalone projects, of which the "Economic Transformation Database (ETD)" originally under the "Varieties of structural transformation" is one. As of 1 January 2021, this project has been included in Pelikan as its own entry.

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