Douwe Osinga's Blog: Death and Taxes. Correlated.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

90% of creativity is misunderstanding, I sometimes think. Some the best ideas come when you hear something and think, wow, that's brilliant and later it turns out that they meant something else, but it was still a good idea. I think it works because your brain had been working on something similar and seeing it in print, it makes it go click, even if it is about something else.

Anyway, this isn't really brilliant, but still a nice example. I read the headline of this article Death & Taxes Poster. This is about a poster that shows the size of the expenditures of the US government on a poster. It doesn't show death at all

What I thought they had, was a poster that plotted life expectancy against the tax rate for various countries. The good news is that I can now make that poster. Me and the internet. So I quickly copy and pasted two tables of tax rates and life expectancy into a spreadsheet and had them correlated and then plotted the thing. You get this table:

And the graph below. Unfortunately the correlation isn't very strong. If I had had more time, I'm sure I could have massaged the numbers a little more, but I'll leave that to someone else. In general it seems that countries with higher taxes in general have higher life expectancies. Or really, the graph becomes more dense towards the higher taxes. In other words, it is possible to have low taxes and high life expectancy, but almost all countries with high taxes have also high life expectancy.

Make of it what you want. Oh the x-range is the (highest) income tax-rate. The y-range is the male life-expectancy.