Economist

41 posts
The rule governing which variable to put on which axis, served a la mode

When making a scatter plot, the two variables should not be placed arbitrarily. There is a rule governing this: the outcome variable should be shown on the vertical axis (also called y-axis), and the explanatory variable on the horizontal (or x-) axis. This chart from the archives of the Economist has this reversed: The title of the accompanying article is "Ice Cream and IQ"... In a Trifecta Checkup (link), it's...

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Pulling the multi-national story out, step by step

Reader Aleksander B. found this Economist chart difficult to understand. Given the chart title, the reader is looking for a story about multinationals producing lower return on equity than local firms. The first item displayed indicates that multinationals out-performed local firms in the technology sector. The pie charts on the right column provide additional information about the share of each sector by the type of firms. Is there a correlation...

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Brexit voting divisions

The Economist charted the divisions within political parties using Brexit votes as proxy. I’m here for the bubbles. Tags: Brexit, Economist

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Remaking charts from The Economist, by a journalist at The Economist

Sarah Leo, a visual journalist at The Economist, looked through the archives and found some charts that could use a re-design. After a deep dive into our archive, I found several instructive examples. I grouped our crimes against data visualisation into three categories: charts that are (1) misleading, (2) confusing and (3) failing to make a point. For each, I suggest an improved version that requires a similar amount of...

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The Economist on the Economist: must read now

A visual data journalist at the Economist takes a critical eye on charts published by the Economist (link). This is a must read! (Hat tip: Fernando) Here are some of my commentary on past Economist charts.

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Five steps to let the young ones shine

Knife stabbings are in the news in the U.K. and the Economist has a quartet of charts to illustrate what's going on. I'm going to focus on the chart on the bottom right. This shows the trend in hospital admissions due to stabbings in England from 2000 to 2018. The three lines show all ages, and two specific age groups: under 16 and 16-18. The first edit I made was...

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Falling ticket prices for longer flights

Based on data from Expedia, this is an interesting one from The Economist. Using polar coordinates, they used angle to represent percentage change in ticket prices and the radius to represent the distance of a flight. Too bad they couldn’t get more data from Expedia. I would’ve liked to see the price changes for more flights, especially shorter ones to use as a point of comparison. Tags: Economist, flights, pricing

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Demographic effects on voting intention

The Economist built an election model that treats demographic variables like blocks that output a probability of voting Republican or Democrat: Our model adds up the impact of each variable, like a set of building blocks. As a result, a group of weak predictors that point in the same direction can cancel out a single strong one. In theory, the model could identify a black voter as a Republican leaner,...

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Big Macs in Switzerland are amazing, according to my friend

Note for those in or near Zurich: I'm giving a Keynote Speech tomorrow morning at the Swiss Statistics Meeting (link). Here is the abstract: The best and the worst of data visualization share something in common: these graphics provoke emotions. In this talk, I connect the emotional response of readers of data graphics to the design choices made by their creators. Using a plethora of examples, collected over a dozen...

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Is the chart answering your question? Excavating the excremental growth map

San Franciscans are fed up with excremental growth. Understandably. Here is how the Economist sees it - geographically speaking. *** In the Trifecta Checkup analysis, one of the questions to ask is "What does the visual say?" and with respect to the question being asked. The question is how much has the problem of human waste in SF grew from 2011 to 2017. What does the visual say? The number...

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