Global Economy Archive:

Sometimes you have to strangle software to get what you want. I was looking for a new way to compare world growth across analytical groups. Starting with an excel bubble chart, I noticed that sorting the values by growth rate, and sizing them by GDP value, produces a very beautiful visualization of the distribution. Looking closer, however, I noticed that excel literally draws the graph in the sorted order (lowest to highest in this case), resulting in some of the smaller balls being hidden by the larger ones:


To fix this turned out to be quite complicated, requiring some software hopping. First you have to copy and paste the chart into Powerpoint, then right-click/save-as-picture into an enhanced metafile (.emf), which you can then open in Illustrator where you can bring all the hidden balls to the front. Anyways, the end result is below. I hope the technique is useful to anyone looking to do some post-production excel chart tweaking.


Two charts examining the size of debt restructuring by countries. The second chart is more useful since it aggregates the restructurings of countries that had several over different years (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, etc).

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The Financial Times has created a giant videographic project in NYC’s Grand Central Station. Check out details about the installation and watch some of the videos (on business and the global economy) at Has anyone seen it yet in person?


From the 2012 Military Balance report. (via)


There’s also a 2012 Chart of Conflict – but I couldn’t find a decent sized image on their site. I think they want you to buy it.

I’ve posted charts based on Maddison’s GDP dataset before, but here’s a new one that tacks on IMF projections. Obviously, the timeline scale isn’t linear and thus distorts things a bit, but the broad point is the same.image

Artist Gary Simpson created a series of frescos in 2006 based on global indicators from the CIA’s factbook. A bit stylized, to say the least, but I applaud the effort. Below are my favorites:

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I’m not a fan of the Heritage Foundation, and the one time I dug into the data of their Economic Freedom Index I found that they occasionally compare apples and oranges to get around data scarcity – BUT: they do put a large research effort into the report each year. The below interactive map is well executed – but you should drill down to country level data to get a feel for what is really being measured (click on a country, then the “learn more about this country” link that pops up in the lower left. Why this requires two steps I have no idea).


A sankey diagram illustrating where one particular Shanghai office worker spends his money.


Another cool piece from HistoryShots – this one looking at the growth, consolidation, and death of automobile companies.


There are a number of interesting and well designed charts in the 2011 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse. The private sector actually does a lot of good analysis and visualization work that just doesn’t get publicized much.

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This one took me a minute to figure out – it’s showing distribution of wealth by decile:


There are a series of charts on wealth and age:

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Thanks to Sean R for sending in the link!

Wow. I didn’t realize China’s investment in the USA was so small.


A billion here, a billion there – soon you’re talking about real money.

News reports often focus on debt to gdp ratios, but it’s powerful to actually show the magnitudes of each, and compare the amounts already committed to what remains to be financed, as is done here by Spiegel:

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A rawer way of looking at the debt of all of the PIIGS, in piles of euros:


This version shows who loaned Greece the money:


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An addictive collection of beautiful charts, graphs, maps, and interactive data visualization toys -- on topics from around the world.

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