EconLit: A Great Resource for Economics and Education

| January 5, 2012

The American Economic Association’s database of the literature in economics, EconLit contains citations, abstracts, and full text for over 120 years worth of economics writing from around the world.  EconLit is a comprehensive index of journal articles, books, book reviews, collective volume articles, working papers, and dissertations pertaining to all aspects of the discipline.

Like most indexes, EconLit can be searched by a variety of criteria, including traditional ones like author, journal title, words or phrases in the title of an article, words or phrases in an article abstract, subject descriptors (official subject headings), and subject codes.  A sampling of relevant subject descriptors and subject codes for economics and education would include the following:

  • Analysis of Education (I210)
  • Education:  Government Policy (I280)
  • Education and Economic Development (I250)
  • Education and Research Institutions:  General (I200)
  • Educational Finance (I220)
  • Higher Education and Research Institutions (I230)
  • National Government Expenditures and Education (H520)

Access to EconLit is provided by Columbia University Libraries; you can get to it via the Databases tab on the CUL page, or by going directly to

As with essentially all online databases, it is possible to combine a variety of search criteria in a single search, using the Boolean operators AND, OR, or NOT to either narrow, expand, or exclude results retrieved in the search.  Good search strategy often employs a mix of “controlled vocabulary” terms (formal subject headings) with free-text/natural language words or phrases and/or with other variables (authors, journal titles, etc.).  The search below uses an established subject heading in combination with a phrase not included in the database’s thesaurus of official subject terms.

Clicking on a title in the results list displays full bibliographic information for the item (author or authors, source, abstract, etc.):

And clicking on the e-Link icon connects you to a page on the Columbia Libraries website indicating the availability in full text online of the article itself, with linkage to the e-version.

To explore additional resources covering the business and economics periodical literature, take a look at the list of 36 databases listed on the Columbia University Libraries Databases page.