Tag Archives: economics

Big Mac Index

For years, the Big Mac Index from the Economist has been a standard of sorts for examining differences in currencies across the world. Well now we have an online, interactive version of the index.

The Big Mac Index

The Big Mac Index

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.

Am I Your Type, Politically Speaking of Course?

Maybe? But thanks to Pew Research, you can see if we align politically. Today’s post comes via Pete, a coworker of mine, and it is basically a survey that works by asking you 23 political questions on topics from big/small government, immigration, climate change, gay rights, defence spending, &c. They crunch some numbers and spit you out on a results page, the image below a crop from the results for your humble author. (For better or worse revealing my political leanings.)

My type

My type

From a survey standpoint, I found it interesting the questions presented only binary responses. In general, I found that I never agreed with either statement entirely and was forced to choose the “closest” response. Since I never see myself on the conservative side of the spectrum, I was surprised to see my “type”, Young Outsiders, coloured with a tint of red. Regardless, I’m still thankful that according to Pew, I am still more in the centre than on the ends as it makes it a lot easier to compromise. I’ve heard that that is an adult thing to do.

By the way, if you want the results of the full survey upon which this quiz was based, you can check out that site here. It’s full of bar charts for those who like the data visualisation.

Credit for the piece goes to the Pew Research Center.

Where Guns Are Easier to Find Than Knowledge

I loved the title of this piece from the Washington Post that I had to borrow it myself. Of course all credit goes to that particular copywriter. The Washington Post looked at counties and states where gun stores outnumbered museums and libraries. Thankfully my home county has more knowledge than guns. Sadly, the same cannot be said for large areas of the country.

Guns vs. Museums

Guns vs. Museums

And of note, while Pennsylvania is narrowly more gun than knowledge, the city of Philadelphia ranks second in terms of ratio of libraries/museums to gun stores at 16.93. Only New York City ranked higher.

Credit for the piece goes to Christopher Ingraham.

The Decline of the Boeing 747

This weekend I flew to and from Philadelphia—that is when my flights were not delayed. So I decided to select an aircraft-related graphic for today’s piece, originally from Quartz. It looks at the phasing out of the iconic Boeing 747. (And as for me, well I was on a 737-900 and a CRJ-700—neither as iconic as the 747.)

Death spiral of the 747?

Death spiral of the 747?

Credit for the piece goes to David Yanofsky.

Viewing the Economy All at Once

Normally I try to reserve Fridays for the lighter stuff. But yesterday, the New York Times published a really fantastic piece about how the Great Recession changed the American economy through job growth or loss in each sector of the economy. Naturally this sounds very difficult because the American economy is both very large and very diverse.

Job growth in the American economy

Job growth in the American economy

If you check the piece out, however, you will find that you are offered a guided tour with analysis to provide context to an otherwise jumble of coloured lines. As a bonus, highlighted words in the text bring up small charts showing the actual job growth history for the particular sector. The jumble, however, is also organised along the x and y axes by two important metrics: wages and jobs since the Great Recession. This allows you to see whether low wage jobs have performed better than higher paying and whether either has created more jobs than the other. Line colouration denotes whether a particular sector has grown and recovered, recovered, not recovered, or recession accelerated a previous decline.

Then at the very end is another really great part of the piece. This is a collection of all the small charts arranged by areas of the economy.

View sectors individually as small multiples

View sectors individually as small multiples

Lastly, for those of you who have to work on smaller screens, don’t worry, they made it responsive. Overall, a great piece.

Credit for the piece goes to Jeremy Ashkenas and Alicia Parlapiano.

Carbon Emissions

President Obama announced new regulations to be enforced by the EPA that aim to reduce carbon emissions. Principally, the expected reduction will come through state-by-state measures to meet new federally mandated targets. Each state will have the ability to find different means of achieving the cuts, e.g. building more solar plants or nuclear plants or implementing cap-and-trade schemes.

Consequently, the New York Times published this interactive graphic that examines the carbon emissions and energy prices of states. The charts default to a highlight of several Northeast states already participating in a cap-and-trade scheme. The top component charts emissions on a per unit of energy over time while the bottom charts the price of energy.

Carbon emissions over time

Carbon emissions over time

Credit for the piece goes to Hannah Fairfield and Derek Watkins.

Swiss Coffee Exports

While I hate coffee, I do like sankey charts. And this piece from Quartz makes use of one when discussing the exports of coffee. In particular, the article focuses on the value that coffee manufactures, e.g. Nestle, add to Swiss imports of un-roasted beans before exporting them roasted. (Increasingly in little pods.) Overall, the piece is of a digestible length and worth a read. If you like coffee. Personally, I’m sticking with tea.

Swiss coffee exports

Swiss coffee exports

Credit for the piece goes to David Yanofsky.

Home Ownership

I am pretty much a sucker for small multiples. And so today I present a good one from the Washington Post. The story starts looking at the broad, national scope of the issue. And from there it breaks home ownership down by state.

Home ownership by state

Home ownership by state

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post’s graphics department.

Strolling into Work…

…forty minutes late with an iced coffee? It’s what we millennials do since we don’t understand that time exists between 04.00 and 10.30. Don’t believe me? Well, Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight crunched the numbers and it turns out that there is some truth in the humour. Cities with a younger, more millennial workforce tend to see workdays start later.

Selected cities in the Eastern and Central time zones

Selected cities in the Eastern and Central time zones

Credit for the piece goes to Allison McCann.