Economists Do It With Models

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On The Relationship Between Economic Statistics and Supervillains, In Cartoon Form…

September 30th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Reader @landley sends me the following, along with the question “What’s a Gini coefficient?”:

I have to admit that I like when people send me things- I spend a lot of time perusing the interwebs for interesting (read, nerdy) content, but I can’t be everywhere at all times, so it’s awesome when others help out. I also like when cartoons are nerdy enough that they require explanation, since it gives me an excuse to teach things. (In fairness, I’m the one who can tell you all about the Gini coefficient but has to look up the details of the historical supervillains- it’s called specialization of labor, people.)

A Gini coefficient is simply a measure of income inequality. Gini coefficients range from 0 to 1 (or 0 to 100% if they are expressed as a percentage or index), and bigger numbers represent higher levels of inequality. In the context of the cartoon, I’m pretty sure that “bad” Gini coefficient should be taken to mean high Gini coefficient, mainly because inequality is generally viewed as bad and I can’t picture any supervillains coming from Sweden.

In case you are curious, here is a list of Gini coefficients for countries around the world. By the cartoon’s logic, all else being equal we should see the most supervillains from Namibia and the fewest from…you guessed it, Sweden.

If you want to learn more on this topic, might I suggest the following, by yours truly:

Tags: Macroeconomics

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Paul Jenkins // Sep 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Don’t give people too much information! People might try to address the division of wealth in the U.S., so that our society would be as fair as Cameroon, Iran, and Cambodia!

  • 2 Punditus Maximus // Oct 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Libertarians: fearing the complexity of the real world since 1943.

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