Data on Cronyism

by Don Boudreaux on February 12, 2015

in Crony Capitalism, Data, Other People's Money, Seen and Unseen, Subsidies, Trade

The fight over the reauthorization of the corporatist Export-Import Bank is one waged by friends of cronyism against friends of consumers.

On the cronies’ side are the special-interest groups who want Ex-Im’s charter extended because they benefit from this bureaucracy’s handouts.  On the consumers’ side are scholars and journalists who’ve tried to shed light on what the Depression-era federal export-credit corporation actually does.  (Shocker: it grants privileges mostly to well-connected, politically powerful companies.)

The fight on the consumers’ side just became much more difficult.  The public datasets that were used to produce charts and articles analyzing Ex-Im’s activities have been removed from Data.Gov (“The home of the U.S. Government’s open data” as you can read on the website).  You can read more about this episode here.

Thankfully, the data have just been restored, for everyone to use, by some of my colleagues at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center: Veronique de Rugy, Andrea Castillo, Chris Koopman, and Eli Dourado.

The website is called “Ex-Im Uncensored” and it includes the main dataset that was removed from, plus the state-by-state data that were gotten from and now made available in a more user-friendly form.


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