RePEc disseminates metadata about publications in economics as well as about their authors. This data is then leveraged by various so-called RePEc services that make that data available to the public in various forms. Any element in this data has a unique and permanent identifier, the RePEc handle, that allows to link an article to its journal and authors, for example, as well as to its citations. Each have a handle.
EDIRC is a project started in 1995 that catalogs institutions that primarily employ economists: these are mostly academic departments, but also includes think tanks, policy institutions (central banks, ministries, regulators), international organization, and research centers. A listing of economics associations and societies is also provided. Each of those entities is assigned a RePEc handle and this handle can thus be used in RePEc to associate items to these institutions. These handles always start with RePEc:edi:, followed by seven letter or digits, the last two reserved for the country.
The major user of this data is the RePEc Author Service, which leverages it to assign affiliations to the registered authors. The author metadata then includes the handles of the relevant institutions, which the RePEc services then can use to display author profiles. The RePEc Genealogy does the same to identify where economists received their terminal degree from. RePEc archives, the providers of the bibliographic data in RePEc, can also include institutional handles in the data about their series and journals.
There may be still other uses of this data, such as using the institutional data for ranking purposes. But the ones described above feed back to EDIRC. Indeed, institutional entries on EDIRC may show a listing of their members registered with the author service, their alumni shown in the genealogy, and the publications indexed in RePEc. All in all, close to 15,000 institutions are indexed in EDIRC, with well over half having some metadata from another RePEc service.