"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Comparative government (I)

This is a fun game you can play at home, school, or office!

Each of the sub-charts on this graph represents a provincial government of one particular partisan stripe or another. The pretty coloured blobs show the relative change in the size of the provincial public service over time, starting with the quarter in that government first came into office.

("Provincial public service" is defined here as the sum of all provincial civil servants, teachers and other school board employees, and employeees of the public health-care system, provincial public post-secondary education institutions, and provincial crown corporations. Data for all charts is from Statscan Table 183-0002.)

Since the values for each government are indexed to the conditions when they took office, each government's chart starts at 100% (the thick black line). From there, over time, some governments have cut, dropping the value to less than 100% of the initial value, while others grew the public sector, resulting in values rising above 100%. For instance, one government ended up growing the public sector by 20%, while another cut it by 15% before expanding again.

There is at least one government from each of nine provinces (though one province is not portrayed at all). There are several Progressive Conservative and NDP governments, at least one Liberal government, and one Parti Québécois government portrayed. All of the data is from January 1982 at the earliest. The most recent data is from the first quarter of 2011. There is at least one government still in power portrayed.

The colours of each chartlet do not necessarily reflect the partisan affiliation of the government whose data is shown. If the colour does so, it is entirely by coincidence. The left-to-right order does not necessarily reflect any geographical or chronological sequence, though each chartlet is internally chronological from left to right.

Just to make things really interesting, the time scale at the bottom, and the explanatory legend, have been redacted, ATIP-style. Do you dare attempt this most fiendish of statistical challenges?

Click to enlarge:

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