Recently, I have been working on a research paper regarding economic structural change and one of the easiest way to visually show this phenomenon is through cascade charts. Firstly I decided to use excel to generate it, and this was the result (this is only a part of the chart since I just want to give you a glance):

Cascade Charts to Illustrate Economic Structural Change

The chart looks good, but since I have always preferred LaTeX, I decided to try to construct it using the tikz package. However, it has been difficult to find a suitable environment to make it in a nice and automatic way. For the moment I have used pure coordinates to construct the chart. I have used this code:

\documentclass[border = .5cm .5cm .5cm .5cm]{standalone}
\usepackage{tikz} % tikzpicture


\begin{tikzpicture}[xscale = 5]
   % Rectangles
   \path[fill = blue!70]    (0,0cm)       rectangle (0.3450288,0.20426);
   \path[fill = green!50]   (0.3450288,0) rectangle (0.5766886,0.2539946);
   \path[fill = cyan]       (0.5766886,0) rectangle (0.7382995,0.3101311);
   \path[fill = teal]       (0.7382995,0) rectangle (0.8515251,0.4869684);
   \path[fill = brown]      (0.8515251,0) rectangle (0.9007586,0.4881487);
   \path[fill = pink]       (0.9007586,0) rectangle (0.9366190,0.6492083);
   \path[fill = orange]     (0.9366190,0) rectangle (0.9417933,0.8690585);
   \path[fill = violet]     (0.9417933,0) rectangle (0.9483419,0.9971954);
   \path[fill = magenta!50] (0.9483419,0) rectangle (0.9751932,1.594287);
   \path[fill = black!70]   (0.9751932,0) rectangle (0.9953494,1.837054);
   \path[fill = red!70]     (0.9953494,0) rectangle (1,3.309693);
   % Axis
   \draw[<->] (0,3.5) -- (0,0) -- (1.05,0);
   \foreach \x in {0,0.5,1.0,1.5,2.0,2.5,3.0,3.5}
       \path (0,\x) node[left]{\tiny $\x$};
       \node[rotate = 90] at (-0.15,1.75){\tiny\parbox{4cm}{\centering Productividad por sector como proporción de la productividad media}};
       \node at (0.5,-0.3){\tiny\parbox{4cm}{\centering Proporción del empleo capturado}};
   % Labels
   \path[fill = blue!70] (0,-0.7) rectangle (0.02,-0.6);
   \node[right] at (0.01,-0.67) {\tiny agsp};
   \path[fill = green!50] (0,-0.9) rectangle (0.02,-0.8);
   \node[right] at (0.01,-0.87) {\tiny chre};
   \path[fill = cyan] (0,-1.1) rectangle (0.02,-1);
   \node[right] at (0.01,-1.07) {\tiny serp};
   % -----
   \path[fill = teal] (0.2,-0.7) rectangle (0.22,-0.6);
   \node[right] at (0.21,-0.67) {\tiny indm};
   \path[fill = brown] (0.2,-0.9) rectangle (0.22,-0.8);
   \node[right] at (0.21,-0.87) {\tiny const};
   \path[fill = pink] (0.2,-1.1) rectangle (0.22,-1);
   \node[right] at (0.21,-1.07) {\tiny trco};
   % -----
   \path[fill = orange] (0.4,-0.7) rectangle (0.42,-0.6);
   \node[right] at (0.41,-0.67) {\tiny exmi};
   \path[fill = violet] (0.4,-0.9) rectangle (0.42,-0.8);
   \node[right] at (0.41,-0.87) {\tiny eaal};
   \path[fill = magenta] (0.4,-1.1) rectangle (0.42,-1);
   \node[right] at (0.41,-1.07) {\tiny adpu};
   % -----
   \path[fill = black!70] (0.6,-0.7) rectangle (0.62,-0.6);
   \node[right] at (0.61,-0.67) {\tiny alqu};
   \path[fill = red!70] (0.6,-0.9) rectangle (0.62,-0.8);
   \node[right] at (0.61,-0.87) {\tiny sifc};


With this code I have been able to generate this:

enter image description here Which looks relatively nice, but I would prefer to generate it in a more automatic and less-painful way. Could someone recommend me another approach to do the chart? (I have also tried combining the tikz package with the pgfplots package but I was not able to find a suitable option).

  • 1
    Welcome to TeX.SX! These pages might be of help: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/364076 and tex.stackexchange.com/questions/152243
    – user30471
    Feb 22 '18 at 22:34
  • It might just be my ignorance, but how are these charts defined, i.e. what sets the widths and heights of those bars?
    – user121799
    Feb 23 '18 at 1:13
  • 1
    Does Can PGF Plots do a histogram with variable bar widths? help (its also handish)? Your definition of the bar width is not clear to me?
    – Bobyandbob
    Feb 23 '18 at 8:10
  • Thank you @Andrew and @Bobyandbob. I also tried to do a histogram with variable width using the pgfplots package, but it doesn't look suitable for me since I need a different color and label for each rectangle. Feb 23 '18 at 11:46
  • 1
    @AlderMiguel Should i mark this question as an duplicat?(Any problems with it?) Nevertheless you could add your solution, if it could be helpful for other people.
    – Bobyandbob
    Mar 3 '18 at 9:37

I was able to generate a cascade chart using the const plot and the ybar interval options of the axis environment. I was also able to add single legend entries for each bar with the area legend option of the \addplot command. Here is a minimal example:


\pgfplotsset{compat = newest}


      title = Cascade Chart in \LaTeX,
      ylabel = Productivity,
      xlabel = Employment share (\%),
      xmin = 0, xmax = 1,
      ymin = 0, ymax = 10,
      legend entries = {A, B, C},
      legend pos = outer north east,
         const plot,
         ybar interval,
         fill = green,
         area legend
      ] coordinates {(0,2) (0.6,2)};
         const plot,
         ybar interval,
         fill = blue,
         area legend
      ] coordinates {(0.6,4) (0.9,4)};
         const plot,
         ybar interval,
         fill = red,
         area legend
      ] coordinates {(0.9,9) (1,9)};


The outcome should look like this:

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.