Economists Do It With Models

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A Correlation Vs. Causation Birthday Present…

September 30th, 2013 · 6 Comments
Fun With Data · Just For Fun

The good news (sort of) it’s my birthday! The bad news: I spent the better part of the day in my foofy birthday dress at the RMV, since I didn’t realize until midday that my driver’s license was expiring. I did want to give you something fun today, so this is the best I could do:


If you’ve read here for a while, you probably know that the correlation versus causation issue gets me all up on my analytical soapbox. (The distinction between percents and percentage points is a close second.) What you are less likely to know is that these multi-axis multi-scale charts make me absolutely ragey, since the creators have done so much mental gymnastics to arrive at a result that supposedly proves a point that I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not and thus feel like these charts are the intellectual equivalent of gaslighting.

If you haven’t been sufficiently bombarded with the correlation versus causation issue and how to work around it, allow me to explain:

Tags: Fun With Data · Just For Fun

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Zeb // Sep 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    You’re awesome. Thank you for sharing.

  • 2 Jon Kalb // Sep 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    A better correlation/causation comic:

    http://xkcd.com/552/

  • 3 MJ // Sep 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jodi!! Love your work! : )

  • 4 EconoNerd // Sep 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    The identification problem.

  • 5 Nancy // Oct 1, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I like the way you think!! …and we share a birthday 🙂

  • 6 King of Fruitless Hypotheticals // Oct 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve found that the more cartoons you use the more I read your blog…

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