I want to access the infamous Excel spreadsheet from Reinhart and Rogoff's 2010 paper "Growth in a Time of Debt". I see the paper here, and in the 2013 errata I see a link to the raw data, however I'm not an economist and I don't know how to find the data in the link (it looks very comprehensive). Also it doesn't have the spreadsheet, and I'd like to reproduce the error in that.

How do I find Reinhart and Rogoff's original 2010 spreadsheet from "Growth in a Time of Debt"?

  • $\begingroup$ Herndon, Ash and Polin make their data available on a website accompanying their 2013 working paper that was published in the Cambridge Journal of Economics in 2014. They write of a "working spread sheet Public_debt-ratios_advanced.xlsx" by Reinhart and Rogoff but I cannot find exactly that in the zip-folders they provide. There are however several datasets from which you can get their results and deduce about the $\endgroup$ – Jan Höffler Jul 1 '19 at 17:21

I know this was a while ago now but here is the excel file.

UPDATE: As somebody highlighted this is not the original 2010 file, but it does include the key raw data and some helpful instructions.

Here is the link to the video of where I go through the process step - by - step: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItGMz0ERvcw

Hope this helps, EBW.

Excel file

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This doesn't look like the original 2010 spreadsheet. Instead, it looks like a reply by Reinhart & Rogoff to Herndon, Ash, and Pollin (2014). $\endgroup$ – Kenny LJ Jul 1 '19 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yes you're right - sorry I should have qualified. It is not the original file but does include the key raw data and some instructions should you wish to recreate yourself. Hope it is still of use! $\endgroup$ – Economics for a Better World Jul 2 '19 at 7:52

I think it is not available. The data is not available in the official American Economic Review website, nor on the personal website of the authors of the replication study (the third author does not have a website).

The spreadsheet was given to the authors of the replication paper by Reinhart and Rogoff via email. There might have been an implicit agreement not to disclose it. Apparently, the underlying data cannot be produced directly from the website Reinhart and Rogoff used. The replication paper states:

On their web site, RR provide public access to country historical data for public debt and GDP growth in spreadsheets with complete source documentation. However, these publicly available spreadsheets do not include information on the exact data series, years and methods used in their paper. As such, we were unable to replicate the RR results from the data they posted on their web site.

In response to our request of April 2013, RR did provide us with the working spreadsheet that they used in producing the RR papers.

As always with negative replies, we can only prove the contrary, so I might be wrong.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. "Apparently, the underlying data cannot be produced directly from the website Reinhart and Rogoff used." If that's the case, I'm curious what the evidence is for an "Excel mistake" vs intentional fraud. This paper tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/… says the excel mistake actually had a small effect, and intentional choices were the main factors leading to the interesting result. This seems counter to the common story about the R-R paper. This might be more appropriate as a separate question. $\endgroup$ – R Greg Stacey Oct 2 '17 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Is it common to publish data-sets and code in economics? Is this case an outlier? $\endgroup$ – R Greg Stacey Oct 2 '17 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ @RGregStacey I think it is more and more common. But I don't think it is still mandatory. It depends on the journal. Some datasets are private too, so it is not always possible to do so. $\endgroup$ – luchonacho Oct 2 '17 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ @RGregStacey: Is it common to publish data-sets and code in economics? Unfortunately, no, it wasn't and still isn't. But fortunately, thanks to this and other scandals, it is becoming more common for journals to require the publication of such datasets and code as a condition for publication. (Often though, authors will simply upload a dump of files that are mostly incomprehensible and hard to figure out, so that the costs of checking and replicating their work remain high.) $\endgroup$ – Kenny LJ Jul 1 '19 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ You can find an overview of the replications of this study in the ReplicationWiki that I created: replication.uni-goettingen.de/wiki/index.php/… In the Wiki you also find information on thousands of published papers for which data and code were shared. In my 2017 paper Replication and Economics Journal Policies doi.org/10.1257/aer.p20171032 I showed only a small minority of economics journals enforce a mandatory policy to share data and code. These journals tend to be among the better ones in the discipline. $\endgroup$ – Jan Höffler Jul 4 '19 at 10:41

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