About Clio Infra

In 2010, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded a subsidy to the Clio Infra project, of which Jan Luiten van Zanden was the main applicant and for which the International Institute of Social History (IISH) fulfills the secretarial function. Under the title of Clio Infra, a set of interconnected databases has been set up containing worldwide data on social, economic, and institutional indicators for the past five centuries, with special attention to the past 200 years. These indicators allow research into long-term development of worldwide economic growth and inequality.

Global inequality is one of the key problems of the contemporary world. Some countries have (recently) become wealthy, other countries have remained poor. New theoretical developments in economic science - such as new institutional economics, new economic geography, and new growth theory - and the rise of global economic and social history require such processes to be studied on a worldwide scale. The question of worldwide economic growth and inequality can only be researched on the basis of worldwide data concerning the patterns of economic performance and their causes. Clio Infra provides datasets for the most important indicators. Economic and social historians from around the world have been working together in thematic collaboratories, in order to collect and share their knowledge concerning the relevant indicators of economic performance and its causes. The collected data have been standardized, harmonized, and stored for future use. New indicators to study inequality have been developed. The datasets are accessible through the Clio Infra portal which also offers possibilities for visualization of the data. All Clio Infra datasets will be archived by Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS).

The unique global datasets enable new opportunities for data analysis and the testing of hypotheses from new economic theories. Clio Infra offers the opportunity to greatly enhance our understanding of the origins, causes and character of the process of global inequality.

Disclaimer: The data as offered via this website are in some cases constructed within our project, while in other cases they are derived from external authors/repositories. People making use of these data must consult the sources as given in the accompanying working paper.