SIS Resources on Statistics


What is Statistics?

-         A brief introduction to statistics and a collection of useful links



Online Resources for Statistics on Singapore

-         Where to find online statistics on Singapore in various areas



Visit our Links page for more.





Occasional Article for January 2009




Economic Forecasting – De-Mystifying the Art of Modern Crystallomancy


SINGAPORE, which is facing its 'sharpest, deepest and most protracted recession' from the fast-deteriorating global economy, further revised its GDP growth forecast on Wednesday to between -5 per cent and -2 per cent this year.”  (“GDP forecast cut by 3 pts” by Alvin Foo, Straits Times, 21 January 2009)


Have you ever wondered how economists arrive at these types of forecasts? Should they have predicted the current economic crisis and sounded the alarm bells before it was too late? As our Occasional Article explains, economic forecasting falls short of prescience but is grounded in sound technical principles. This article casts light on the profession of economic forecasting by discussing common approaches adopted and constraints faced by forecasters.





Statistics Link of the Month




 “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics”

Variously attributed to Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli


Our Link of the Month highlights how statistics can be misleading, misinterpreted or misrepresented. Mark Twain’s famous quote probably referred to intentional manipulation of statistics to lie to the public, as most people do not know enough about statistics to detect the deception. There is some of that in our Link of the Month, the STATS "Dubious Data" Awards 2008. But there seems to be a few lies perpetrated by ignorance of how statistics really work.



An excerpt:


“A survey conducted by the Physicians' Foundation finds that almost half of all practicing physicians in the US plan to cut back or quit practicing medicine. According to the survey’s press release, “49 percent, or more than 150,000 practicing doctors– say that over the next three years they plan to reduce the number of patients they see or stop practicing entirely." But it turns out only four percent of respondents actually filled out a questionnaire (11,960 out of 270,000 mailed surveys) – begging the question of whether doctors closer to retirement, or unhappy doctors, are more likely to fill out a questionnaire to begin with.”


Read the full article: STATS "Dubious Data" Awards 2008





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