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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“Fake news” versus “Fake statistics” | The Online Citizen

This entry was posted in Opinion.  



A friend asked me – with all the hoohah on “fake news” – got “fake statistics” or not?

Photo: The Online Citizen
Well, from my experience analysing statistics for the last two decades or so – “fake statistics” are very very rare.
What we have are often:
  • no disclosure of the statistics
  • partial disclosure of the statistics
  • omitting statistics
  • changing the definition of the statistics
  • changing the time period of the statistics
  • not reporting statistics using international norms
  • changing the base population of the statistics
  • a combination of the above
Let me try to give some examples to illustrate the above.

“no disclosure of the statistics” – the HDB does not breakdown the price of HDB BTO flats into contruction, land and other costs. All that we know is that land is charged at market rates

“partial disclosure of the statistics” – the employment growth statistics are broken down into locals and foreigners, but not Singaporeans

“omitting statistics” – the GIC’s annualised returns are for up to 20 years in US$ – but not the annualised return from its inception in S$. In contrast, Temasek also discloses its annualised return from its inception in S$

“changing the definition of the statistics” – a part-time worker used to be defined as working not more than 30 hours a week – this was changed to 35 hours. So, arguably, by the stroke of a pen – both the categories of full-time and part-time workers’ median wages increased
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Source: The Online Citizen


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