Jul 2017


Data Viz

If you've ever wondered about the quality of your export goods compared with other countries, the IMF's Research Department just recently updated their Database of Export Quality until 2014. The full dataset is downloadable on, and the paper is available here.

The paper introduces the "Export Quality Ladder", a visual representation of a country's export goods quality standing relative to others. The paper's figure 5 below is an example.


Source: Henn, Papageorgiou, and Spatafora (2014). Export Quality in Advanced and Developing Economies: Evidence from a New Dataset. IMF Working Paper, 2014.

In the view below, I present an interactive version of the static Figure 5 in the paper. Note that the viz is in beta, and is not an official output of the IMF.

Quick start tip Highlight a country on the left to see how they rank in their exports compared to the rest of the world. You can also hover your mouse over the dots to see where other countries rank.

For the advanced user To maximize the functionality of the visualization, you can calibrate the graph in three ways:
  • Select the classification: ACM / BEC / SITC. These are just different ways of classifying export goods by order of granularity. ACM is the least, while SITC is the most granular.
  • Select the industry. Options here are dependent on the classification in Step 1. You can choose to show all sectors of the economy, select one (i.e., Agriculture) or select multiple (i.e., Crude Materials, Minerals, Oils).
  • Select the level of detail. Allows the user to select the level of dissaggregation, Low, Medium or High. Toggle between the industry selector and the dissagregation in order to get an optimal view. (Selecting too many disaggregated industries may crowd the graph).
  • Optional step: Select the year. The graph shows data for all years, 1963 to 2014. If the user would like to view a single year, it is possible to select from the dropdown.
  • Note: Press "ESC" to revert to default settings.