Telling Visual Stories About Data

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Presentation by Peter Fontaine, CBO's Assistant Director for Budget Analysis, to a Global Network of Parliamentary Budget Offices Community Meeting Sponsored by the World Bank Institute

Presentation by Peter Fontaine, CBO's Assistant Director for Budget Analysis, to a Global Network of Parliamentary Budget Offices Community Meeting Sponsored by the World Bank Institute

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  • 1. Congressional Budget Office Telling Visual Stories About Data Presentation for the: Seminar on Independent Budget Analysis & Transparency A Global Network of Parliamentary Budget Offices Community Meeting Peter Fontaine Assistant Director for Budget Analysis June 2014
  • 2. Know Your Audience
  • 3. Members of Congress and Staff
  • 4. explanatory exploratory static interactive
  • 5. How CBO Communicates
  • 6. Reports
  • 7. Policy options, spreadsheet
  • 8. Chartbooks
  • 9. Snapshots
  • 10. Presentations
  • 11. Before
  • 12. After
  • 13. Infographics
  • 14. Use Best Practices
  • 15. Show the Data Jacob Klerman and Caroline Danielson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2011
  • 16. Show the Data Jacob Klerman and Caroline Danielson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2011 0-axis thicker than data line
  • 17. Show the Data Jacob Klerman and Caroline Danielson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2011 Tick marks probably unnecessary 0-axis thicker than data line
  • 18. Show the Data Jacob Klerman and Caroline Danielson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2011 Label and %-sign are redundant0-axis thicker than data line Tick marks probably unnecessary
  • 19. Show the Data Jacob Klerman and Caroline Danielson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2011 Abbreviations make comprehension difficult 0-axis thicker than data line Tick marks probably unnecessary Label and %-sign are redundant
  • 20. Show the Data Jacob Klerman and Caroline Danielson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2011 Data points are outside the axis bounds 0-axis thicker than data line Tick marks probably unnecessary Label and %-sign are redundant Abbreviations make comprehension difficult
  • 21. Implied Impulse Response Functions for Different Caseloads (Percentage change in caseload) -20 -10 0 10 20 0 1 2 3 4 5 Years Adult Only 0 1 2 3 4 5 Years No Cash -20 -10 0 10 20 0 1 2 3 4 5 Years Welfare Cash Assistance 0 1 2 3 4 5 Years SSI Cash Assistance Show the Data
  • 22. Gordon Hanson, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2012 Reduce Clutter
  • 23. Reduce Clutter
  • 24. Integrate Text and Graphics Social Security Advisory Board, Aspects of Disability Decision Making: Data and Materials, February 2012
  • 25. Integrate Text and Graphics
  • 26. Use Appropriate Tools
  • 27. Excel Stata SAS Open Office R Tableau JavaScript Google Charts Standard Tools Newer Tools
  • 28. If your tool doesn’t let you create the visualization you want, get a different tool.
  • 29. Do the figures in this report illustrate its main points?
  • 30. What should the reader learn from the figure?
  • 31. Is the figure understandable outside the confines of the report?
  • 32. The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures -Ben Shneiderman
  • 33. References Slide 7. CBO, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024, www.cbo.gov/publication/45010, February 2014 8-9. CBO, Social Security Policy Options, www.cbo.gov/publication/21547, July 2010 10. CBO, A Premium Support System for Medicare: Analysis of Illustrative Options, www.cbo.gov/publication/44581, September 2013 11. CBO, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024, www.cbo.gov/publication/45010, February 2014 13. CBO, Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People, www.cbo.gov/publication/44363, June 2013 14-15. CBO, The Distribution of Federal Spending and Taxes in 2006, www.cbo.gov/publication/44698, November 2013 17. CBO, Snapshot of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, www.cbo.gov/publication/44131, April 2013 18. CBO, Snapshot of Unemployment Benefits, www.cbo.gov/publication/44096, March 2013
  • 34. References, continued Slide 20. CBO, Federal Health Care Spending: Why Is It Growing? What Could Be Done About It? www.cbo.gov/publication/44761 , September 2013 21. CBO, Federal Health Care Spending: Why Is It Growing? What Could Be Done About It? www.cbo.gov/publication/45144, February 2014 22. CBO, The Federal Budget: Outlook and Challenges, www.cbo.gov/publication/44378, June 2013 24-27. CBO, The U.S. Federal Budget: Infographic, www.cbo.gov/publication/42636, December 2011 28-32. CBO, Federal Means-Tested Programs and Tax Credits—Infographic, www.cbo.gov/publication/43935, February 2013 33. CBO, The Long-Term Budget Outlook: Infographic, www.cbo.gov/publication/43289, June 2012 35-45. Jonathan Schwabish, “An Economist’s Guide to Visualizing Data,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.28.1.209, Winter 2014