The Government Finance Database

Quantitative public financial management research is limited by the lack of a common database for empirical analysis. The U.S. Census Bureau distributes government finance data that some scholars have utilized, but the difficult process of collecting, interpreting, and organizing the data has led its adoption to be prohibitive and inconsistent. On this website we offer a single, coherent resource that contains all of the census data from 1967 through the most recent update, uses easy to understand natural-language variable names, and can be extended when new data is available.

Because of the size of the data, the links below give you the option to download the entire database or only the set of governments you are interested in. Each download link includes a text file of the data, our research paper describing the data, and several appendices to help you work with it. We suggest that you cite our work as:

Pierson K., Hand M., and Thompson F. (2015). The Government Finance Database: A Common Resource for Quantitative Research in Public Financial Analysis. PLoS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130119