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A different type of Corona-dashboard: It’s the economy, stupid

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young

Harvard super-economist Raj Chetty and his team of merry team data boffins, radical researchers and policy pros at Opportunity Insights found themselves, at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, with time (and supercomputers) on their hands. Rather than sitting idly by, they had a crazy idea: Let’s make a Coronavirus dashboard, but for the economy! All it would require is the private economic data held by secretive credit card, payroll and retail companies, which they could mash up into a massive dataset and then make public. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The result is a tool that lets the US lawmakers (and the rest of us) track the peaks and troughs of the US economy, with very little lag in the data, meaning that they can watch, almost in real-time, the effects of stimulus on the economy. And they can do it down to metro level.

What they’ve uncovered is concerning: the economic shock of the virus has dramatically increased the gap between the rich and poor in the US. The rich, who have largely ridden out the virus unscathed (financially at least), are still not spending their money, exacerbating the problem.

For more detail, read this fascinating article in Bloomberg Business or go straight to the dashboard.

Jason Norwood-Young
  • Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery.

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