Timothy Noah

Visualizing Inequality

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In 2010 I published a 10-part series about income inequality in Slate. It's still available online, but due to a magazine redesign some months back its navigability is iffy; if you want to read the whole thing you're best off downloading the PDF version. A more serious problem is that an accompanying slide show featuring gorgeous color graphics by Catherine Mulbrandon got disabled. The slide show proved crucial to generating interest in the series, and it speaks to many of the concerns raised by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Slate is working its way through a lot of graphics-related problems its redesign created (as redesigns tend to do), and will eventually repair this one. In the meantime, Mulbrandon has posted the graphics on her own Web site, Visualizing Economics. Of particular interest in this election year is this chart demonstrating the partisan difference in income growth for people at various income levels under Democrats and Republicans. The caption might easily be, "If you care about income inequality, you'd be nuts to vote Republican." (With the important caveat that if you only care about income growth for the top 5 percent, it's more of a coin toss.)

Mulbrandon is a phenomenally talented graphic artist who combines artistic flair with a deep knowledge of economics. I encourage you to spend some time browsing through her site. You should also think about signing up to purchase her forthcoming illustrated guide to incomes and occupations in the U.S. I'm extremely grateful that Catherine agreed to provide a series of black-and-white illustrations for my forthcoming book on income inequality.

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