Welcome to Laurier Library's MBA Country Project course guide. This guide provides information sources to help you identify and evaluate international business opportunities. You might also want to visit the Company Research Guide for resources that will help you research your chosen publicly traded Canadian company. You can find links to video tutorials to the right under Key links.
Use the links below to navigate to the different sections of this guide.
- Country Profiles
- Country Risk
- Competitiveness Factors
- Regulatory Environment
- International Trade
- Foreign Investment
- Industry Reports and Forecasts
- Cultural Intelligence
- Citing Sources
The resources listed under Quick country facts provide easily accessible quantitative country information, often graphically displayed in tables and charts. The resources listed under Detailed country analyses provide contextual information and interpretation.
Quick country facts
Provides a quick guide to the economics, politics and history of countries and territories, including quick facts, profiles of political leaders, an overview of the media market and a chronology of key events.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency provides country-specific information, including country profiles and select data.
Provides country statistical data. Select a country from the drop down menu under "Country Profile" (found on the right side, under the calendar). Mergent Online is available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Provides links to national statistical agencies arranged alphabetically by country.
The World Bank's principal data source on the global economy, including demographic, social, economic, financial, natural resources and environmental indicators for more than 200 countries and 18 country groups.
First select your country by searching or browsing the country list. Then expand the Series to select individual variables. Finally, click Time at the bottom to select the year(s) for which you want statistics. View data as a table, chart or map by selecting an output icon at the top right.
Detailed country analyses
Find country forecasts in ABI/INFORM Complete, which contains the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Country Finance and Forecast Reports. Once in the database, click the "Browse" link at the top, then select the link to the EIU Finance and Forecast Reports under Country Reports.* Scroll down and click on the link next to "forecasts." You can filter the results by country on the right under "Narrow results by."
*Additional country reports are available, including the Oxford Analytica Country Profiles.
Covers political and economic information and selected data on countries and organizations worldwide. Select a country from the drop-down menu and hit "Go." Europa World Online is available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Global Insights provides international business and trade information on over 200 countries, 50 U.S. states, as well as nearly two dozen industry sectors, and many of the world’s trade blocs. Under "Get globalEDGE Insights", select from one of the four options: "By Trade Bloc", "By country", "By State", or "By Industry".
Includes country analysis - PESTLE. Type in country name then select "Countries" from drop-down menu beside the magnifying glass. Click the search icon. Available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Passport Country Profiles provide an overview of government, economy and society, including a statistical summary of the business environment sourced from the World Bank's Doing Business publication. See Passport's Business Environment reports for a detailed discussion of the business environment and/or the World Bank's Doing Business. Links to both are provided in the Regulatory Environment section of this guide.
To access Country Profiles, click on the Menu Search >> select Countries and Consumers, ensuring your selection is added to the Category Summary box >> Click "Now Choose Geographies" >> use the + sign to expand options and make your country selection(s) >> click Run Search >> under by Analysis on the left column, select country reports. Available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Find country risk assessments for 160 countries, along with information on payment methods, debt collection and insolvency trends. Select a country from the drop-down menu and click "Go."
Published semi-annually by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Offers country analysis, country briefings, country risk guides. From main page, click "Search by Content Type", then under "People, Places and Things", select the "Country Information". Type in country name in search box. Click on "Advanced Options" and select same country from the drop-down menu, specify date and select the sources you want to search then click "Apply". Click "Search". Available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Watch the video tutorial Country risk: Lexis Nexis Academic
Euromonitor provides Risks and Vulnerabilities reports to assess the current economic situation across 85 core countries. In addition to an socioeconomic overview, each report provides information on socio-political risks, the importance of the external sector, the country's financial stability and geopolitical risks.
To access the Country Briefings on Risks and Vulnerabilities, select Economy, Finance and Trade under the Countries and Consumers tab at the top. Under Analysis Finder on the left, select Country Briefing from the drop-down menu. Then select a country from the drop-down menu (use the + sign to expand the options next to regions). Click "Go." See also the Business Environment reports. Passport GMID is available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Country reports with political and economic information. Developed by PRS (Political Risk Services), the Political Risk Yearbook provides reports for more than 100 countries, including political and economic risk analysis. Information includes developing markets, currency movements, capital investments, and corporate security.
"World Investment and Political Risk examines general trends in the global economy and FDI, corporate perceptions of political risk and risk-mitigation strategies, as well as the latest developments in the Political Risk Insurance industry."
"The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for 215 economies over the period 1996–2012, for six dimensions of governance: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, control of corruption."
"Competitive Alternatives 2014 compares business costs and other competitiveness factors in more than 100 cities, in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States."
The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 assesses the competitive landscape of 148 countries. Find country rankings, country highlights and information on sustainable competitiveness. See also the the Benchmarking and Competitiveness Library for additional resources, including reports on regions, information technology and trade & supply chains.
A.T. Kearney's Global Services Location Index "analyzes and ranks the top 50 countries worldwide as the best destinations for providing outsourcing activities, including IT services and support, contact centers and back-office support."
The Index of Economic Freedom is published annually by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation and "covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 186 countries."
"The Logistics Performance Index is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance. The LPI 2014 allows for comparisons across 160 countries. The LPI is based on a worldwide survey of operators on the ground (global freight forwarders and express carriers), providing feedback on the logistics “friendliness” of the countries in which they operate and those with which they trade."
Labour relations and regulations
Provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the International Labor Comparisons (ILC) data offers comparative cross-national statistics for common labour market indicators, wages and benefits, productivity, GDP and consumer prices. The International Labor Comparisons program is being continued by The Conference Board.
The ILO's Key Indicators of the Labour Market provides country-level data on 18 labour market indicators from 1980 to the most recent year available.
See also the International Labor Organization's Global Wage Report 2012-13.
"View and download data and metadata for over 200 countries or territories from LABORSTA, an International Labour Office database on labour statistics operated by the ILO Department of Statistics."
A comparison of prices and earnings around the globe. The 2012 edition includes purchasing power for 72 cities in 58 countries.
The World Bank's Global Consumption Database "is a one-stop source of data on household consumption patterns in developing countries. It is designed to serve a wide range of users—from researchers seeking data for analytical studies to businesses seeking a better understanding of the markets into which they are expanding or those they are already serving."
Most country reports include a general overview of the economy and information on foreign investment, labour relations, incorporation and taxation.
To access the Business Environment reports, select Business Environment under the Countries & Consumers tab at the top. Under Analysis Finder, use the drop-down menu to select Country Briefing. Then select a country from the other drop-down menu (use the + sign to expand the options next to regions). Click "Go." Passport GMID is available on the network but restricted to the Laurier community.
Contains information on personal and business taxes for multiple countries. See also the tax guides for select individual countries.
Published by the U.S. Social Security Administration in collaboration with the International Social Security Association, this publication, issued in four regional volumes (Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Americas), presents the main features of the social security programs in more than 170 countries. Includes information on the regulatory framework governing old age security, disability, maternity, work injury and unemployment for each country, including the financial responsibility of employers in these areas.
Provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement in 189 economies that allow for comparisons across countries and over time. The indicators include starting a business, getting construction permits, getting credit, getting electricity, registering property, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. These 10 indicators are included in the ease of doing business ranking. Measures of regulations on employing workers are included in the study but are not included in the rankings.
Additional Subnational Doing Business reports capture variations in business regulations and their enforcement within an economy, covering 355 cities in 55 economies. Doing Business Regional profiles are also available as are thematic reports that take a close cross-national comparative examination of a particular topic such as paying taxes or getting electricity.
Economies are ranked on their ease of doing business overall, as well as on the ten individual indicators. Subnational ranking data is available for select countries.
Find information on corruption in government and other institutions globally. Transparency International ranks and examines corruption by topic including issues such as whistleblowing, access to information and public procurement and in industries such as forestry, oil and gas, education and the private sector. Also find information on corruption by country.
See also surveys such as the Global Corruption Barometer and indices such as the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Bribe Payers Index.
Use the following resources to find international trade statistics, guides/policies for Canadian businesses exporting abroad and information on treaties and trading blocs.
Includes Balance of Payments Statistics (BOPS), Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS), International Financial Statistics (IFS), and Government Finance Statistics (GFS)
Find statistics, books, journals, working papers and reports on economic topics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To search across all content types, use the drop-down menus to select a theme (i.e. Trade) and a country. Click the blue and white search icon. Look for the statistical periodical Monthly Statistics of International Trade, which is an excellent source for up-to-date trade statistics, including international comparisons. See also the OECD Statistics on International Trade in Services.
The United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade) is a comprehensive trade database with import and export statistics from approximately 200 countries or areas with annual trade data from 1962 to the most recent year. The search query allows you to specify the commodity, the trade flow (imports or exports), the year(s) and the country partners. The typical output provides the trade value (in US dollars), the weight and quantity.
"This site provides a searchable database on international trade in merchandise and commercial services." Start by clicking "Go" next to Time Series on international trade, then click "Selection" in the left hand column. Follow the instructions on each page to specify your search criteria, each time advancing to the next step by clicking "continue" at the bottom right of the page. Read the Technical Notes for product definitions and to find out the members of reporter groups.
See the Trade Profiles for predefined information about the trade situation of WTO member countries. General macroeconomic indicators are also included. See the Tariff Profiles for information about the market access situation of WTO member countries and to make cross-country comparisons. See the Services Profiles for statistics on key infrastructure services (transportation, telecommunications, finance and insurance) for selected countries.
You can also download a PDF of the World Trade Organization's International Trade Statistics 2013 here.
Trade guides and policies
Learn how Canadian companies can grow their business through an export venture. Find out about export financing, conducting export market research to find countries with customers for your product or service, logistics and exporting regulations.
Information for Canadian exporters.
"The Integrated Trade Intelligence Portal (I-TIP) provides a single entry point for information compiled by the WTO on trade policy measures. Containing information on over 25,000 measures, I-TIP covers both tariff and non-tariff measures affecting trade in goods as well as information on trade in services, regional trade agreements and the accession commitments of WTO members. Its aim is to serve the needs of those seeking detailed information on trade policy measures as well as those looking for summary information."
". . .the Global Enabling Trade Report assesses the quality of institutions, policies and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destinations. At the core of the report, the Enabling Trade Index benchmarks the performance of 138 economies in four critical areas: market access; border administration; transport and communications infrastructure; and regulatory and business environment. As a widely used reference, the report helps economies integrate global value chains and companies into their investment decisions. It informs policy dialogue and provides a tool to monitor progress on certain aspects of global trade."
Treaties and trading blocs
UNCTADstat includes all of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) statistical databases. The link above provides annual inward and outward FDI statistics for various economies from 1970-2012, including individual countries. You might also want to view FDI Country Fact Sheets and Country Profiles. Another resource is UNCTAD's World Investment Directory which "provides detail information about foreign direct investment in a country, comprising detail statistics on flows, stocks and TNC operations, disaggregated by components, industry and investor/recipient country."
Find statistics, books, journals, working papers and reports on economic topics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To search across all content types, use the drop-down menus to select a theme (i.e. Finance and Investment) and a country. Click the blue and white search icon.
"Investing Across Borders is a World Bank Group initiative comparing regulation of foreign direct investment around the world. It presents quantitative indicators on economies' laws, regulations, and practices affecting how foreign companies invest across sectors, start businesses, access industrial land, and arbitrate commercial disputes."
Industry reports and forecasts
Use the resources listed below to find geographically-specific industry reports and forecasts, for example, the pharmaceuticals industry in the Asia-Pacific market or construction & engineering in Brazil.
ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry contains Business Monitor International (BMI) Industry Reports and First Research Industry Reports. To access the BMI Industry Reports, click the "Browse" link at the top, then select the link for BMI Industry Reports under Industry and Market Research. You can start browsing either by industry or by location. To find country-specific industry forecasts, click the "+" sign next to business forecasts to expand options. These BMI quarterly reports contain either 5 or 10-year forecasts.
Marketline provides industry, company and country information.The unique industry analysis framework is based on Porter’s Five Forces and also includes expert future forecast analysis.
Watch the video tutorial International industry research: Marketline
Find popular and scholarly articles on your industry in a particular country, region or city by searching by NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes and geographic location. Tip: use the "Look up NAICS codes" and "Look up Locations" links to help target your search.
The Centre for Intercultural Learning is part of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and is the country's "largest provider of intercultural and international training services for internationally-assigned government and private sector personnel." Select a country from the drop-down menu to find information on topics ranging from conversation styles to cultural stereotypes.
The country profiles provide information on languages, cultures, etiquette and taboos. Each profile includes sections on dining etiquette, gift giving, conducting business meetings, business negotiations, business dress and the appropriate use of business cards. See also the lexicon of useful phrases for several of the major world languages.
"The World Values Survey is a worldwide investigation of sociocultural and political change." The results of the most recent wave of surveys (2010-2014) will be released on the website on April 28-29 2014 and includes over 75 countries.
Watch the video tutorial: Finding eBooks
Avoid plagiarism by referring to these online quick guides and video tutorials to help you cite your sources correctly.