Simplifying the creation of visuals to convey complexities of economic data
The Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub) worked with the World Bank to develop a method to visually present results based on complex economic data and models. Econometric modeling is the statistical approach used to predict the impact of economic policy on GDP, incomes, and inequality. These models generate a great deal of data and presenting this information to policy makers in a manner that facilitates decision making is not easy. Enter DxHub. Its students explored ways to use cutting-edge data visualization solutions to present information in a compelling and easy to understand way.
The Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment practice of the World Bank uses computable general equilibrium models (CGE) to analyze climate adaptation, macroeconomic growth, and poverty reduction policies in developing countries. These large-scale model generate results for a wide range of policies and long-term developments—including the impact of climate change on economic growth and health; the impacts of taxes on economic incentives, incomes, and income distribution; and the long-term growth consequences of investing in education or infrastructure. CGE models generate results that go well beyond standard macroeconomic variables. Results cover hundreds of thousands of data points, but typically only a limited subset of the results are ever explored. When multiple scenarios are being compared, data sets can include millions of data points.
Today, data results tend to be compared with standard Excel pivot tables. This approach can leave important insights undiscovered. The World Bank wanted to find a way to convey the full breadth of results generated in a format that would be easy to understand for policy makers and other non-specialists.
About the DxHub
Cal Poly’s Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub) was one of the earliest collaborations between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and an educational institution focused on innovation and digital transformation. While providing students with real-world learning experiences, the DxHub applies proven innovation methodologies in combination with the deep subject matter expertise of the public sector and the technical expertise of AWS to solve challenging problems in ways not contemplated before. For more information, visit dxhub.calpoly.edu.