Theme: Data and Visualisation

Premiere: Monday 14 June 2021 starting at 3pmBST/10am EDT

Curated by UCL ChangeMakers Student Partners, June Hong (Y1) and Xuyi Wang (Y3)

As data has become much more abundant than ever before, many questions have been raised. How should economists measure the economy and identify the ambiguities in the process of it? How can economic data be visualised by using the software and online platforms available to students? And how can these be incorporated into economics classes in the format of exercises?

Data Visualisation Excites Students in Any Classroom

Natalia Smirnova, University of Connecticut

Premieres: 3pmBST/10amEDT


Contemporary students are curious and tech-savvy. They are excited to “do” economics, to explore real-world application of the textbook material, and work with data because “Big Data” is a buzz word in their realm. In my 10-minute presentation, I share my application exercises (AE) that use FRED database. Those exercises can be utilized by any instructor and any student from anywhere in the world: FRED portal is free; it is current; it has a lot of data about a lot of things.

I provide the following examples. For Macro: GDP stacking graph, and labor force participation in the U.S. by gender. For Micro: elasticity concept and demand curve construction, industrial production, and supply side graph. I visit GeoFRED and show how to construct a map of an economic indicator and explore it at the world, country, or city level.

I discuss ideas of how these graphs and exercises can be used in economics classes. I share, briefly, other resources available on FRED (blogs, Page One Economics articles, links to primary data, etc.). The participants will come out of this session with specific materials in-hand as well as the inspiration of using data visualization exercises in teaching any economics course: in-person or online, introductory or upper-level, micro or macro as well as various fields.

Incorporating Data Visualization and Use of Tableau in Economics Classes

Joseph DaBoll-Lavoie, Nazareth College of Rochester

Jadrian Wooten, Penn State University

Premieres: 3:30pmBST/10:30amEDT


We share our experience of incorporating data visualization projects in various upper lever undergrad electives courses. We have used Tableau in courses like Labor, Crime, and Public Finance. Students develop marketable skills and have can demonstrate to future employers their comfort of working with data. Projects focus on familiarizing students with minor data cleaning challenges, creating presentable visualizations, and developing dashboards/stories to share their work with the public.

‘Measuring the Economy’ – An online textbook produced by the UK Office for National Statistics

Ed Palmer, UK Office for National Statistics

Premieres: 4pmBST/11amEDT


We can’t understand the economy unless we understand economic statistics. That has not been any clearer than over the last year as the coronavirus pandemic has had profound impacts upon the economy and our daily lives. Measuring the Economy is primarily intended for students of economics and related subjects, bringing to life the importance of economic measurement. This book explains clearly the concepts, challenges and controversies that lie behind our measurement of the economy and how this is relevant to how we consider economic policy. It is also intended for a wider readership who might be interested in the challenges that are implicit in the measurement of today’s economies. Each chapter is written by leading experts and we aim to explain how these concepts apply in real life, including the new challenges and opportunities of measuring the modern economy, and how economic measurement helps and informs policymaking. We cover the measurement of • Prices, the national accounts and GDP, and the labour market • Productivity • Inequality • Regional statistics • International trade and financial flows • Environmental and natural capital statistics • Modern Economy Economies are constantly evolving, and the material will be regularly updated to take account of the latest developments. Our hope is that this will help equip economics graduates prepare for life as a professional economist, while also explaining how these economic concepts relate to our everyday lives and experiences. We hope this volume will improve our understanding of the wider economy and our policies more effective.

Use #TeachECONference2021 on social media!

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