Global Economy Archive:

Consumer prices are moving unevenly across the world. Economic growth, supply and demand, currency values and a variety of other factors drive consumer prices up — inflation — or down — deflation. Bars and figures show change from a year earlier in consumer price indexes.


The Washington Post has updated the population bulge charts I mentioned last month. This time they are interactive, and include three additional countries (Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia). Below you can see the big differences between Egypt and the United States.

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The Financial Times surveyed 5000+ alumni from the top 50 MBA programs in the world and mapped out where they came from, where they went to school, and where they ended up. It’s slightly confusing at first, because they do not map all of the students at once – it shows only one country of origin at a time. Still, it’s very cool if you pay attention to where the dots flow when you change categories. (related article)

interactive map of MBA student country of origin and school

note: access to some FT features requires a subscription.

How America compares to other industrial countries based on a variety of basic indicators (income inequality, life expectancy, education) as well as some uncommon ones (prison population, level of democracy, and “wellbeing”). Conclusion: America is not #1! Can anyone think of indicators that WOULD make us look good in this crowd?

heat table of advanced countries performace on a variety of indicators

Many middle eastern countries have a large percentage of young people in the population. Compare this to the United States, where it is easier for our politicians to ignore the voice of the young (most of the time).


Combine this with high unemployment, and you’re going to have political problems no matter how autocratic you are:


Just how organized is organized crime? Think of it as the world’s largest and most illicit social network.

Ok, that may not be the best analogy ever, but this interactive map of transnational crime with popup details is a fascinating way to explore the $2 trillion global grey market of illegal activity. (via Ritholtz)

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The IMF has released a new database of sovereign debt-to-gdp ratios for 174 countries, going back as far as 1880 (for G7 countries).

The data shows how government debt has risen and fallen over the years as important events, such as wars and stock market crashes, affect a country’s decisions about when to save and when to spend. It turns out the relationship between debt and economic growth has changed over time; historically, fast growing countries had low debt ratios, while slow growers struggled under higher debt. In the past 30 years that relationship has altered as advanced economies’ debt levels have risen and their economies have grown.The data also debunks some old clichés, for example that African countries have the highest debt levels. In fact, low income countries in Africa today have lower debt ratios than do advanced economies in Europe and North America.

The below charts appear in a slightly slow, but interesting, IMF You-tube video:

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The data can also be explored and exported using the IMF’s DataMapper (note the links at the bottom of the mapper to the related working paper and dataset):


The FT created an interactive bar chart of the IMF’s COFER data on foreign currency holdings.  Watching the growth since 2006 is particularly stunning. Design wise, the dynamic resorting of the countries is an interesting variation.


Posted at the same time was a map of China’s imports with details clickable by country. This is all part of the FT’s in depth “China Shapes the World” feature.


Note: some Financial Times features require a subscription.

An interactive heatmap of inflation across the globe, from the WSJ. Well done, but I would have expected some 2010 data in there by now.


Cross-country financial and trade exposures are hard to visualize, but this interactive network diagram from the Washington Post is a good attempt.  And the sovereign spread sparklines at the bottom are a nice addition.

Interactive web diagram of loan and trade interdependence for the united states and the EU

I somehow missed catching this when it came out in December.

I always love this type of kinetic video-graphic. It seems to me, though, that they are best suited to broad overview topics where you are trying to establish perspective, and not so good when your audience is already well informed. If you want to play with creating something like this yourself, a good tool to start with would be Prezi. (via)


Interactive tree map of the top 20 charts viewed on the Economist’s website.

Interactive menu of Economist magazine top charts of year 2010