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Jonah Feld

Very interesting stuff. What's missing is a measure of the weight that each year's subprime loans carry. Knowing in each year (1) how many subprime loans were made in each year, (2) the total value of subprime loans, or (3) the proportion of subprime loans to other mortgages, might do the trick.

Both charts make things seem like they are getting worse, but that assumes the share of subprime loans remained constant over the past three years.


I feel that the curves in the NYT graph should be turned 90 degrees out of the plane of the page, so they are like ribbons seen end on. Then the 60 days or more, 90 days or more points etc. should be marked as contours, and joined together year to year.

Because 90 days or more is always more than 60 days or more, the lines will never confusingly cross, so they don't have to be colored, only labelled. If there are enough of them, they don't all have to be labelled, even, just as height contours on a map don't all have to be labelled: it's obvious what the four unlabelled lines between one labelled contour and another are.

One of these days I should try to get my hands on a proper data set of mortgage delinquencies and demonstrate this graph type by example.

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