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Let's say I'm trying to find a particular statistic. For example, I want to find the equivalent of the Gini coefficient, but for taxation instead of income.

Can that sort of question be asked here? Or is it strictly about methodology and not about specific datasets?

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I'd call it off-topic. During the site's definition phase on Area 51 (which is where StackExchange sites are born, if you don't know), there were a few questions of this flavor (you can read through them here). Vast majorities voted that they were off-topic.

The best argument against these questions in my mind is that everybody who comes to this site is involved in data analysis somehow, and might be able to take a reasonable shot at answering most of the questions here. But questions about a particular dataset aren't for data analysts, exactly - they're for economists/political scientists/biologists/other subject-area experts. We certainly have some of those here, but that's not why they're here.

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    $\begingroup$ It might be a good idea for us to revisit the Area 51 site and use those questions to update the FAQ - this question strikes me as one that will come up a lot. $\endgroup$ – Matt Parker Oct 7 '10 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ Is there another StackExchange site for these types of questions? $\endgroup$ – Lorin Hochstein Oct 9 '10 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ There's an economics StackExchange proposal, but it really doesn't seem to have that much steam. Finding data like this is always a pain - you might try infochimps.org and data.gov for a start. $\endgroup$ – Matt Parker Oct 9 '10 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ quandl.com seems very nice for this. $\endgroup$ – Dimitriy V. Masterov Apr 19 '13 at 19:22

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