economics

24 posts
Two nice examples of interactivity

Janie on Twitter pointed me to this South China Morning Post graphic showing off the mighty train line just launched between north China and London (!) Scrolling down the page simulates the train ride from origin to destination. Pictures of key regions are shown on the left column, as well as some statistics and other related information. The interactivity has a clear purpose: facilitating cross-reference between two chart forms. The...

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A chart Hans Rosling would have loved

I came across this chart from the OurWorldinData website, and this one would make the late Hans Rosling very happy. If you went to Professor Rosling's talk, he was bitter that the amazing gains in public health, worldwide (but particularly in less developed nations) during the last few decades have been little noticed. This chart makes it clear: note especially the dramatic plunge in extreme poverty, rise in vaccinations, drop...

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A look at how the New York Times readers look at the others

The above chart, when it was unveiled at the end of November last year, got some mileage on my Twitter feed so it got some attention. A reader, Eric N., didn't like it at all, and I think he has a point. Here are several debatable design decisions. The chart uses an inverted axis. A tax cut (negative growth) is shown on the right while a tax increase is shown...

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The visual should be easier to read than your data

A reader sent this tip in some time ago and I lost track of who he/she is. This graphic looks deceptively complex. What's complex is not the underlying analysis. The design is complex and so the decoding is complex. The question of the graphic is a central concern of anyone who's retired: how long will one's savings last? There are two related metrics to describe the durability of the stash,...

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Diverging paths for rich and poor, infographically

Ray Vella (link) asked me to comment on a chart about regional wealth distribution, which I wrote about here. He also asked students in his NYU infographics class to create their own versions. This effort caught my eye: This work is creative, and I like the concept of using two staircases to illustrate the diverging fortunes of the two groups. This is worlds away from the original Economist chart. The...

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Fifty-nine intersections supporting forty dots of data

My friend Ray V. asked how this chart can be improved: Let's try to read this chart. The Economist is always the best at writing headlines, and this one is simple and to the point: the rich get richer. This is about inequality but not just inequality - the growth in inequality over time. Each country has four dots, divided into two pairs. From the legend, we learn that the...

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Excel is the graveyard of charts, no!

It's true that Excel is responsible for large numbers of horrible charts. I just came across a typical example recently: This figure comes from Edward Wolff's 2012 paper, "The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class." It's got all the hallmarks of Excel defaults. It's not a pleasing object to look at. However, it's also true that Excel can be used to make nice charts. Here is...

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Getting into the heads of the chart designer

When I look at this chart (from Business Insider), I try to understand the decisions made by its designer - which things are important to her/him, and which things are less important. The chart shows average salaries in the top 2 percent of income earners. The data are split by gender and by state. First, I notice that the designer chooses to use the map form. This decision suggests that...

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The salaries are attractive but the chart isn’t

The only reason why the IEEE Spectrum magazine editors chose this chart form is because they think they need to deliver precise salary figures to readers. This chart is just so... sad. The color scheme is all wrong, the black suggesting a funeral. The printed data occupying at least half of the width of each bar frustrate any attempt to compare lengths. We enter an unusual place where higher numbers...

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Details, details, details: giving Zillow a pie treatment

This chart (shown right), published by Zillow in a report on housing in 2012, looks quite standard, apparently avoiding the worst of Excel defaults. In real estate, it’s all about location. In dataviz, it’s all about details. What are some details that I caught my eye on this chart? Readers have to get over the hurdle that “negative equity” is the same as “underwater homes.” This is not readily understood...

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