Thursday, February 17, 2011

Updated Macroeconomic Balance Sheet Visualizer

Around a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the draft copy of the macroeconomic balance sheet visualizer I had set up, and got some useful feedback (thanks!) At the time, I said:
"If you are learning this like me, I recommend you skip this until an updated version is ready, otherwise you could be unnecessarily misled or confused. I will post another blog entry when a more polished version is ready — both more accurate, and with added features, usability, more accessible step-by-step walkthrough, etc."
Since then, various knowledgeable folks have looked at it, and to the best of my knowledge what's there is correct. (I know the text descriptions still have room for improvement and better precision, which will come over time, but hopefully any issues are minor — let me know if that's not true!)

In the last few weeks especially (apologies for the full year it's taken!), I've made some batches of updates, including:
  • Layout improvements.
  • A "Replay Operation" button.
  • Mouse-over text descriptions for each asset, liability, and equity block (e.g., reserves balances of the banking system).
  • Step-by-step walk-through mode to give visitors who are at a loss for how to start a concrete way to be led through each operation in turn. (And it avoids the "Invalid Operation" message that you get if current balance sheet states don't support a particular operation.)
So if you heeded my warning and held off before, please give the tool a try now and see if it helps you:

Macroeconomic Balance Sheet Visualizer

While I still have a few ideas to work on and improvements to make (especially for the walk-through mode), if you have concrete suggestions for how the visualizer might be further improved, I'd love to hear from you in comments!

I am also still occasionally working on the macroeconomic flow visualizer that I hope will be comprehensible to a wider audience, but my time and progress on it to date have been much less than I'd hoped. So, more on that later, maybe.