Browsing All Posts filed under »Economics«

“The Future Will Turn Out Alright”: Hope, Opportunity, and Norwegian Vocational Schools

July 30, 2016 by


What makes a good school?  A good school system?  A good society?  Recently, my wife and I traveled to Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and I came back both heartened and saddened.  The more I learned about education in those countries—particularly in Norway—the more I got to thinking about our own system of education.  Of course, you start by […]

African Mobile Phone Subscriptions

April 11, 2011 by


From the wonderful Afrographique comes this visualization of the number of mobile phone users per 100 people in different African countries. There is nothing particularly innovative or complex about this graph; the data could have just as easily have been presented in a tabular format. What I love about it (beyond the colors of course!) […]

Public Debt and GDP

February 16, 2011 by


Which countries have the greatest public debts relative to the size of their economies? The IMF has a great data mapping tool, which includes the ability to look at historical data and play back changes over time. The following graph comes from their historical public debt database; the graph below was adjusted using PPP. The […]

From the complex to the simple: pseudovariety in soft drinks

February 13, 2011 by


With all my excitement about the world of data visualization, I think it was good that I stumbled on the website of professor Phillip Howard at Michigan State (website here), who offers a stunning graphic on what he calls ‘pseudo-variety’ in the soft drink industry.  What is particularly useful here as a general lesson is […]

The superbowl, earthquakes, and spatial statistics

February 4, 2011 by


In anticipation of Superbowl weekend, I figured I should post a football-themed data visualization. Now, I was thinking about doing something on one of the playing teams, but my best friends are split down the middle between born-and-raised Wisconsinites (including Dan Plechaty, one of our contributors) and Pittsburgh natives. So I decided to display this […]

Advertising and GDP

February 3, 2011 by


Do advertising expenditures as a percentage of GDP hold constant over time? Some empirical research shows that a rough relationship between these two variables is supported – advertising has contributed to around 2% of GDP over the last century, even as these expenditures have increased (in both nominal and real terms). Advertising can be thought […]

A short visual history of charts and graphs

February 3, 2011 by


Most of the charts used today in data visualization among virtually all of the social sciences (economics included–you can’t get out of it this time) derive from the original design of William Playfair (1759-1823), political economist and a product of the Scottish enlightenment, and Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728-1777), a mathematician of the Alpine inclination.  Together, […]

Visualization vs. data mining

February 2, 2011 by


I recently read a post on Fell in love with data by Enrico Bertini, a researcher at U. Konstanz in Germany.  He makes the excellent point that while data mining and data visualization have historically been at odds, they can no longer stay separated due to the demands of the data-rich society we are creating […]