The Corner

The Federal Government Took Down a Bunch of Ex-Im’s Data, So We’ll Host It for Them

On Friday, I mentioned that all the Ex-Im Bank data was removed from Data.gov. As you can imagine, that decision makes it very hard for scholars or regular people interested in the issue to look at where the bank’s money is going and who’s benefiting.

As it turns out, I do still have the data, because Mercatus’s Andrea Castillo had the good sense to download a clean copy back in May. With the help of Chris Koopman, Eli Dourado and Andrea, the dataset is available once again, on ExImUncensored.com. There you  can find the main dataset that was removed from Data.gov back in the summer, plus the state-by-state data that we got from Ex-Im.gov and have made available in a more user-friendly form. 

The hope is, of course, that this site won’t be needed for long because the data will be put back on Data.gov, with the new 2014 numbers. I also hope that whoever is in charge of the dataset will clean it up this time around, because there’s a great deal of information missing. For instance, it’s not rare to find some recipients identified as “unknown,” or “various U.S. companies,” or “unknown lenders” (see here and here).  It’s also common to find company’s names misspelled or identified slightly differently in different instances, which makes the data harder to work with.

While I’m at it, it would be also nice if the state by state data available on the ExIm.gov website were in an Excel format so it would be easier for the public to use. Right now, the website is formatted to make any kind of perusal by ordinary users difficult. Finally, it would be useful if Ex-Im maintained consistency in their annual reports, as that would make analysis easier as well.

Until all that happens, Ex-Im Uncensored is what we’ve got. And for reference, here are all the charts I have about the bank.

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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