Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Among the things that irk me the most is the use of badly drawn charts to mislead readers. In today's Economix blog the chart at the left appears. It purports to show that veterinary spending and healthcare spending in the US have grown neck and neck, when it fact the underlying data shows nothing of the sort.

This chart is scaled so that the trendlines match (i.e., so that the visual picture matches the conclusion the blog is drawing). If it had been scaled in a neutral fashion (e.g., by indexing vet spend and health spend at 100 in 1984) the chart would clearly show that healthcare spending has grown significantly faster than vet spending, which is a very different conclusion than the one this chart purports to show.

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