data analysis


Data Report 2

A client has asked you to prepare a report documenting changes in inequality in the United

States since the 1970s. Your report should present data covering multiple variables that

demonstrate different ways to view the broad concept of inequality. It should also provide a

brief analysis of the patterns you observe. Your job is not to hypothesize causes of changes in

inequality, but rather to discuss the facts. Some ideas you may want to consider when

preparing the report:

1. How similar/different varying measures of inequality look over time

2. The difference between wealth inequality and income inequality

3. Before tax vs after tax measurements

4. Comparison of the US to other countries

5. Inequality between different genders, ethnicities, education levels, etc.

You do not need to answer all of the questions above and you are welcome to look at different

issues that you find interesting. Assume that the client is familiar with basic economic concepts

but is not an economist. This means part of your description should be focused on defining the

variables you chose and discussing precisely what they measure. When possible, discuss the

relevant tradeoffs between different measures (i.e. are there any shortcomings of the

measures?) and why you chose the ones that you did. Do your best to convey why the data

you are showing is important.


1. Your report needs to look nice. Graphs should be easy to read, consistently themed, and

formatted cleanly. Text should be presented neatly and it should be clear to which graph

the text refers. Have some fun with it! Creativity is encouraged!

2. Your report must include at least 6 data series and at least 4 separate graphs (in other

words, you can put more than one series on a graph if it makes sense – for example income

shares for different groups). Do not take graphs from other sources. Always download the

data and create the graph yourself.

3. Part of your job is finding data sources. It should be pretty easy to find data (a google

search of “inequality downloadable data” brings up many options)

4. There is no formal requirement for length, but you do not need more than a few sentences

describing each graph (and a few on the comparison across graphs when that makes

sense to do). Bullets with incomplete sentences are ok if you prefer that format. The

important part is to make the reader understand precisely what is going on in each piece of

your data.