Economist

42 posts
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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Digital revolution in China: two visual takes

The following map accompanied an article in the Economist about China's drive to create a "digital silkroad," roughly defined as making a Silicon Valley.  The two variables plotted are the wealth of each province (measured by GDP per capita) and the level of Internet penetration. The designer made the following choices: GDP per capita is presented with less precision than Internet penetration. The former is grouped into five large categories...

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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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Confuse, confuses, confused, confusing

Via Twitter, @Stoltzmaniac sent me this chart, from the Economist (link to article): There is simply too much going on on the right side of the chart. The designer seems not to be able to decide which metric is more important, the cumulative growth rate of vehicles in use from 2005 to 2014, or the vehicles per 1,000 people in 2014. So both set of numbers are placed on the...

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If Clinton and Trump go to dinner, do they sit face to face, or side by side?

One of my students tipped me to an August article in the Economist, published when last the media proclaimed Donald Trump's campaign in deep water. The headline said "Donald Trump's Media Advantage Falters." Who would have known, judging from the chart that accompanies the article? There is something very confusing about the red line, showing "Trump August 2015 = 1." The data are disaggregated by media channel, and yet the...

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Graphical inequity ruins the chart

This Economist chart has a great concept but I find it difficult to find the story: (link) I am a fan of color-coding the text as they have done here so that part is good. The journalist has this neat idea of comparing those who are apathetic ("don't care about whether Britain is in or out") and those who are passionate ("strongly prefer" that Britain is either in or out)....

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Confusion is not limited to complex dataviz

This chart looks simple and harmless but I find it disarming. I usually love the cheeky titles in the Economist but this title is very destructive to the data visualization. The chart has nothing to do with credit scores. In fact, credit scoring is associated with consumers while countries have credit ratings. Also, I am not a fan of the Economist way of labeling negative axes. The negative sign situated...

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