Economic Flows

I made the above chart using data painstakingly collected from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Each arrow's width is proportional to the size of the flow in 2014. Because of this, flows smaller than about $150 billion aren't shown.

One of the things this chart reveals is just how much of what companies produce gets sold to other companies so that they can produce their products. For instance, Ford couldn't produce cars without buying steel from somewhere else.

There are some minor caveats.

  1. The interest payments made by households do not show mortgate interest.
  2. The interest payments made by corporations represent net interest, not gross interest. This means we shouldn't be drawing any conclusions like “look how small the financial market is in the US”.
  3. I had to use some inference for the transfer payments paid by corporations. I assumed that the total amount of money given had to equal the total amount received. That being said, I doubt they give enough for it to have affected the graph's outcome.
  4. I had to infer the amount of money businesses paid their owners. Again, I assumed the amount paid equaled the amount received.

How are you defining household? US Census?

And why isn't there an arrow b/t corporations and world?
Thomas Faust Redding
Households are simply the individual people and families that are economic units in the United States. Their income consists of wages, salaries, pensions and other benefits, business-ownership, rent, interest, dividends, and transfers (mostly social benefits form national and state governments). It's possible that the BEA also includes nonprofit institutions in this category, but I'm having a hard time figuring out whether this is the case.

Each of the arrows goes between a set of institutions (i.e. world, corporations, government, and households) to a type of monetary transfer (i.e. Labor; Taxes/Transfers; Goods/Services; and Dividends, Interest, etc.).

For instance, if corporations bought $50 billion dollars of goods from the other countries, this would show up as an arrow from Good/Services to corporations and as an arrow form World to Good/Services.

Thus, this graph makes it impossible to deduce who is paying whom for what. Instead, it just shows aggregates.

I may do a more in-depth graph in the future, but that would require some more statistical analysis and would result in a very complicated chart!