Export Goods Quality Ladder (in Beta)

July 24, 2017

Filed under Data Science

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 available on data.imf.org/exportquality.

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.

Disclaimer: The visualization is in its beta phase, and currently undergoing testing with the team.

Explore on your own!

  • Vietnam and China are both competitors in the garment industry. They both rank in the upper quartile in exports of miscellaneous manufactured goods. On a more granular level, Vietnam's exports of footwear are slightly better than China's.

  • In the category of Mineral Fuels, Africa's major commodity exporter, Nigeria, ranks low in export quality for fuels: petroleum, gas, and coal quality is at the bottom of the ladder. Interestingly, major commodity exporters in the Gulf region are ranked similarly. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, are also at the lower half of the quality ladder. Fuel exporters in Latin America seem to score higher in the quality ladder: Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc.


Export Quality in Developing Countries, IMF Working Paper 13/108, by Christian Henn, Chris Papageorgiou, and Nikola Spatafora. May 2013.