Correlation vs. Causation: US and Norway

This meme invites us to draw the conclusion that if we had paid our politicians to run their campaigns, we’d have less inequality and higher standards of living and median income. That the correlation comes from causation and not some other source. This ignores the fact that Norway’s wealth comes to a large extent from control of the North Sea oil field.

There is also a big warning bell in that the meme does not actually compare the results for the US and Norway. For Norway, it gives the standard of living and median income. For the US, it gives us economic inequality.

Norway’s Median income Purchase Power Parity is indeed #2 (Luxembourg is slightly higher), with the US at #6 (although it is probably underreported) with 85% of the Norwegian value. However, Norway is just one of the countries that do it. Japan (#15 at 34,822), Germany (#16 at 33,333), and Israel (#21 at 30,364) also have generous public funding for political campaigns – and they’re below the US. So does Sweden, which is above it (#3 at 50,514).

h/t Chris Benenati


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