Monday, March 8, 2010

Favorite Macro Graphs and Data

This Post will grow and change. These are some of my favorite macro graphs and data sources. Just click the data item below and you will be whisked to a wonderful site...I use these graphs and data to help my students gain perspective on macro change. It is one thing to memorize a bunch of concepts -- it is another to have a "feel" for how they change over time. It takes a while to add links so give me a while to get most of them done. In the meantime, post a comment if you want me to add something for you.

Here are some nice Macro graphs for the USA
Percentage Change in Real GDP USA
GDP Quarterly Press Release with data tables

These graphs relate to Monetary Policy in the USA

These graphs relate to Fiscal Policy in the USA

These graphs and data relate to the Phillips Curve for the USA
Phillips Curve file has spreadsheet of unemployment rate and change in the CPI inflation rate for each year from 1960 to 2009. Scroll down in the file to see a few connect the dots exercises. You can clearly see the downward slope at times, shifts at other times, and wackiness at still other times. If you believe in the expectations adjusted Phillips Curve you can have fun with this. If you enjoy throwing darts please be careful when children are present.

International Comparison Data -- the following links take you to sources of macro/policy about various countries.

The next site is a data appendix from a recent OECD Economic Outlook (86). It contains 60-something tables of data. Key categories of tables include: Demand & Output, Wages, Costs, Unemployment, Inflation, Key Supply-side data, Saving, Fiscal Balances and Public Indebtedness, Interest Rates and Exchange Rates, External Trade and Payments, Other background data. Click the FULL TEXT Button to open the files.

The IMF has a similar publication -- IMF World Economic Outlook (Jan 2010). It has a similar data appendix which allows comparison for an even larger group of countries.


  1. This may be a little off topic but here goes. I am an avid photographer and most of the toys I buy come from Japan (some peeps call me a Canon fanboy). There have been multiple threads about the increase in price of Canon (and Nikon) cameras and lens in photography web sites. Some peeps blame inflation and the exchange rate. Others place the blame elsewhere. Just wondering what your take is, not only on cameras and lens; but oil as well.

  2. I don't keep up with prices of cameras -- except for maybe the most low end point and shoot versions. Their prices seem pretty stable. Remember -- I am a Macroeconomist! With respect to Japan I don't see any great macro reasons to explain higher camera prices -- the country borders on deflation and marginal economic growth. It is true that the long-term trend finds the dollar depreciating against the yen - thus in dollars Japanese goods would cost more. Of course, this is a lesson in what we call the real exchange rate. The real exchange rate brings relative prices into the exchange rate picture. If the overall US price level (of traded goods) is rising much faster than the Japanese price level (of traded goods) -- then Japanese goods would be relatively cheaper and you would expect the dollar to fall against the yen to restore international buying power. But which change was larger? Has the dollar fallen more or less than the relative price level rose? One would need to do that calculation to know if Japanese cameras are a better or worse deal in international terms. If this sounds complicated, consider this example. Suppose US prices were rising 3% per year and Japanese prices were increasing by 1% per year for four consecutive years. After four years (ignoring compounding) US goods would be about 8% higher than Japanese goods. If the dollar fell by 8% that would mean that in dollars, the Japanese goods cost about the same in dollars. Notice that in yen, Japanese goods rose by about 4% over the four years -- but in dollars they would not have risen at all. Alternatively, if the dollar had fallen by 10% against the yen, then Japanese cameras would be more expensive in terms of dollars. That's the kind of comparison I am writing about.