• Big Mac Index

    August 4, 2011  |  Economics

    Big Mac Index - Economist

    The Economist updates their Big Mac Index, which as we all know, is the most accurate way to measure the global economy:

    It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of a basket of goods and services around the world. At market exchange rates, a burger is 44% cheaper in China than in America. In other words, the raw Big Mac index suggests that the yuan is 44% undervalued against the dollar. But we have long warned that cheap burgers in China do not prove that the yuan is massively undervalued. Average prices should be lower in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. The chart above shows a strong positive relationship between the dollar price of a Big Mac and GDP per person.

    When adjusted for GDP, we can see where Big Macs are actually expensive: Brazil, Argentina, and Sweden. I guess there's a premium on special sauce over there.

    [The Economist via kottke]

  • Is the Economy Getting Ready to Turn Around?

    July 6, 2009  |  Economics, Infographics

    Is the economy going to turn around any time soon? How does this economic swing compare to previous cycles? Amanda Cox et al of the New York Times explores these ever so important questions in her recent nine-part interactive series.
    Continue Reading

  • Business Valuation Calculator Like Trendalyzer With Style

    June 18, 2009  |  Economics, Infographics

    Inc.com just released their annual valuation guide for 2009, which allows business owners to gauge the value of their, uh, business. At the center of this guide is an interactive "business valuation calculator" by Tommy McCall. I guess the best way to describe the graphic is Trendalyzer with some style and added functionality.

    Each dot represents an industry and the position on the chart indicates whether the companies in that industry are priced high or low. Press the play button and watch how prices change between 2002 and now.

    Finally, if you've got a business of your own, enter your own values to for a custom value estimate.

    [Thanks, Sarah]

  • Alternate View of Obama’s $819 billion Stimulus Package

    February 11, 2009  |  Economics, Infographics

    OK, so we saw CreditLoan's representation of Obama's stimulus package. Here's Washington Post's take on the breakdown with a combination of bar charts, bubbles, and a stacked graph chart for time - and the numbers seem to all add up correctly. I don't like the bubbles that look like dangling ornaments though. CreditLoan's is more readable, but maybe that has to do with the Post's version being made for print and the other made for online. What do you think - which version works best for you?

    [via The Big Picture]

  • CreditLoan Maps Out Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan

    February 11, 2009  |  Economics, Infographics

    President Barack Obama has a $800 billion+ economic stimulus package in the works. That's a lot of dough. Where's it all going? CreditLoan provides the breakdown in bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles. Fill color indicates what the money will be used for (e.g. tax cuts, human capital) and border color shows where the money goes to (e.g. government, people, business).

    The information is organized nicely and the graphic is attractive, but it probably needs a good bit of fact checking. Some quick calculator work indicates a lot of the numbers don't add up right. I'm sure there are some rounding errors, but there are some pretty big discrepancies. Ideas anyone? I don't have the patience to go through all the comments on the original post to find out, but I suggest you take the graphic with a grain of salt.

    [Thanks, Pavan]

  • Using Data Visualization to Forecast Financial Markets

    November 20, 2008  |  Economics, Statistical Visualization

    This is a guest post by Simit Patel of InformedTrades, which offers free advice on trading stocks.

    While many investors use economic and fundamental factors to identify investment opportunities -- i.e. whether a company has good management and is in a growth industry, or how it will be affected by macroeconomic conditions -- ultimately the price of an asset comes down to two things: supply and demand. The demand for buying vs the demand of selling. By visualizing the movement of price assets, we can gain an understanding of the psychology of the market as a whole, and thus what direction the price will go.
    Continue Reading

  • European Economic Weather Map – Sudden Change in Outlook

    October 31, 2008  |  Economics, Mapping

    In this map from the Financial Times, the state of Europe's economy is shown like a weather map. A cloud with a lightning bolt represents a "sudden change in outlook, outlook uncertain." There's nothing but gray skies ahead, I'm afraid. Oh, but wait, what's that? Cyprus has some sun peaking out over the cloud: "Clouds over growth with some sunny prospects." There is hope.

    [via The Big Picture | Thanks, Michael]

  • Playboy Playmate Curves and the State of the Economy

    October 24, 2008  |  Data Sources, Economics

    Terry Pettijohn and Brian Jungeberg of Mercyhurst College took a very close look at the curves, um, measurements of past Playboy Playmates of the Year in relation to the state of the economy.
    Continue Reading

  • Mapping Economic Activity for the World

    July 14, 2008  |  Economics, Mapping

    The G-Econ (Geographically-based Economic data) group has worked on making economic data publicly available via Gross Cell Product (GCP). In other words, they've collected data for each 1x1 degree latitude by longitude cell on the globe. Above is a cell-by-cell globe mapping world population. Here's one that shows world rainfall.

    Check out more of these pretty world maps posted to the G-Econ Flickr photo set.

  • Human Flows Protoype is Online Now

    December 5, 2007  |  Economics, Projects

    I made a few tweaks and our humanflows visualization prototypes are now online. There's a bit of information on how humanflows came about, who was involved, and a day-by-day recap of the design process. Once you get to the prototypes section, give the applets a few seconds to load and hopefully you're not disappointed. The interaction is pretty intuitive. All you have to do is click and hold to browse the flow lines and the map. Also, if you can, go full screen on your browser. It looks much better that way (and how it was intended to be shown).

    Again, I'd like to thank Miguel, Iman, and Monica for making my trip to Spain and the Visualizar workshop a memorable experience. Thank you!

  • Business of Death Video from GOOD Magazine

    November 2, 2007  |  Economics

    GOOD Magazine is really growing on me. Have you subscribed yet? All of your subscription costs go to the charity of your choice, and by all, I mean 100%. My subscription money went to Ashoka.

    In their most recent awareness animation, GOOD Magazine takes you inside the business of death.

    Throughout the developed world the business surrounding death has often been an uneasy topic of discussion. Originating in the mid-19th Century, the modern funeral has evolved into an economic and cultural monster, with a vast network of supporting industries and myriad options for your earthly remains.

    The amount of money put into casket, tombstone, plot etc. is kind of frightening. As if a death in the family isn't troubling enough.

  • Cover Manhattan and Then Some With All the World’s Walmarts

    October 16, 2007  |  Economics

    American store square footage

    Speaking of Walmart, if we took all of the Walmarts in the world and clumped them all together, they'd cover Manhattan (with some stores sinking in the water). Walmart is the bottom bubbles; McDonald's is represented by the second from the bottom set.

    I'm slightly surprised that McDonald's doesn't cover more. Although, I guess Walmart stores are pretty big compared to McDonald's restaurants. I'm not really surprised that Walmart area is greater than Manhattan area though. In fact, I thought it would have been more with all the Walmarts in the world. Hmmm...

    Into the Artistic Section

    As for this graphic, well, if it were supposed to be statistical, I'd say I didn't I like it. It's not meant to be statistical though. The goal is to show that Walmart is humungo. I get the graphic's main point, which is... the point. To that end, I couldn't care less about proper scales, utility, and what not. Take it for what it is and enjoy.

    This Walmart graphic goes in the artistic section of viz, opposed to the pragmatic side (as Robert explains). There are three other graphics similar in feel to this one that cover sugar consumption, student debt, and solar power.

  • Walmart Spreads Like a Virus

    October 10, 2007  |  Economics

    Watch Walmart quickly expand like a deadly virus from the movie Outbreak. It's particularly interesting to see Walmart "infect" an entire small region with multiple new stores opening at the same time in one area. There looks to be somewhere around 30 stores opening per year (rough guess) across the country, so I wonder what the map looks like now. It's probably all blue except in those deserted Midwest regions. I wonder what the world map looks like.

    Random quote:

    When I lived in Maine, there wasn't much to do, so when we were bored on a Friday night, we'd go hang out at Walmart.

    That's kind of sad, but uh, if that's your thing, well, no, still sad.

  • Americans Prefer Watered Down Beer

    October 2, 2007  |  Economics

    Beer Shipments in 2006Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Miller, and Coors lead the way in beer. Albeit, this is shipment data, not sales data, so take the numbers with a grain of salt.

    The extreme dominance of the top three American beers was somewhat surprising to me, because I never see people order any of those three at restaurants. However, I gave it a few more seconds of thought. I'm thinking parties, sporting events, and drunken nights. The American beers go down easier (because they're like water), so it's easier to get drunk. To get drunk, people drink more. So I guess the watery dominance isn't that surprising. I guess when people buy beer for taste at restaurants, they look to different brands.

    Anyhow, I'm really starting to become a fan of these bubble charts. They're really easy to read and can quickly spruce up a hard-to-read table of numbers. They also seem to scale decently. By well, I don't mean in like the thousands, but in the tens, I think the bubbles can hold their own.

    What kind of beer do you prefer?


  • Freakonomics Blog Moves to The Times

    August 8, 2007  |  Economics

    freakonomics

    If you subscribe to Freakonomics, you probably already know that it's moved to the NYTimes domain. Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt are the blog authors, who co-wrote the book that goes along with the blog. I read the book, which dug into data and revealed a lot of interesting things like sumo wrestlers cheating and race/career correlations. Admittedly though, I totally forgot that there was a blog until I saw the ad on the NYTimes site.

    I think this'll be great to promote data awareness just as the book has. Of course, now on NYTimes, a lot more people are going to be reading the blog.

    One downside though, being on the NYTimes site, it's a limited feed, and that's just kind of annoying. Wah, wah, wah. Yes, I like to complain sometimes.

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