Aaron Schiff

Aaron Schiff is a freelance economist and a datasmith. He uses economic models, statistical tools and data visualisation to help organisations make sense of a complex world.

Oil vs GDP - The Dismal Science

Mar 20, 2015

Via Erik Brynjolfsson on Twitter, I found the chart below of US oil consumption and GDP, which is part of a nice interactive by Bloomberg. It’s interesting to take a close look at the data from around 2008 onwards; I’ve made some crude (pun intended) annotations: Up to about 2011, US oil consumption correlates pretty […]

A personal train timetable - The Dismal Science

Mar 18, 2015

Fairly often I catch the train from Britomart to Newmarket for client meetings. It is quicker and much cheaper than taking a taxi but for various reasons I find it to be confusing. This is mainly because Newmarket is served by most, but not all train lines from Britomart, so you have to be careful […]

A better look at household income diversity - The Dismal Science

Mar 14, 2015

My previous post took a pretty crude look at the local diversity of household incomes in Auckland. The idea was to look at whether each Census area unit in Auckland contains a mix of households with different income levels, or has mostly households with similar income levels. The major problem with my analysis was the […]

Families per household in Auckland - The Dismal Science

Mar 13, 2015

The Census classifies each household according to whether it contains one family, two families, or three or more families. There are also categories for one-person households and other multi-person households (flatmates etc). Within Auckland there are some geographic differences across the household types, as the following dotmap illustrates — click a category to see a […]

Finding primes - The Dismal Science

Feb 16, 2015

Somehow last night I stumbled on The Prime Pages, published by The University of Tennessee Martin. One of the pages has a list of Mersenne Primes and the year of their discovery. This is interesting because to some extent the number of known primes reflects technological progress and also economic growth since devoting resources to […]

Verbalising data - The Dismal Science

Feb 11, 2015

I just read this book in which over three days in 1974, Georges Perec attempted to record everything that happened in the Place Saint-Sulpice in Paris. Here is a typical passage: A bus (Globus) three-quarters empty A lady who has just bought an ugly candleholder goes by A small bus goes by: Club Reisen Keller […]

Meshblock mysteries -

Jan 28, 2015

Warning: This post is unlikely to interest many people. Meshblocks are the basic unit of geographically reported data in New Zealand. They are the smallest geographic areas at which Stats NZ makes data available outside of the datalab. There are three main sources of information about meshblocks: 1. Geographic area files – These are tables that show the concordance between meshblocks and larger geographic areas such as area units, territorial authorities, and regions. 2. Geographic boundary files – These provide data for drawing maps of meshblocks (and other geographic areas) in GIS software. There are two basic sets of shape files: “full” shapes that extend into the sea and include things like uninhabited islands, wharves and marinas, and “clipped” shapes that stay within the coastline. 3. Various datasets that report information at the meshblock level, such as … Read More

Meshblock mysteries - The Dismal Science

Jan 28, 2015

Warning: This post is unlikely to interest many people. Meshblocks are the basic unit of geographically reported data in New Zealand. They are the smallest geographic areas at which Stats NZ makes data available outside of the datalab. There are three main sources of information about meshblocks: 1. Geographic area files – These are tables […]