The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Analysis of the economic impact of military expenditures and arms trade is frequently hampered by the limited amount of transparent, comprehensive data. Country-specific information can be supplemented, however, by data from multicountry statistical sources. This paper describes seven publications which provide multicountry statistics on military expenditure and trade--the information each source conveys, as well as the differences in coverage and definition--to assist the analyst in understanding how to use this data. Comparisons of the data reported by the various sources reveal numerous, significant differences, particularly in data on military expenditures.