Data and statistics

Another fake numbers problem on a topic Americans (and NYT) care about even more than world hunger

In the wake of Aid Watch’s posts on made up world hunger numbers, the NYT revealed today another scandalous made up numbers problem in another area:
{The methodology} is vilified by professional mathematicians …. {which} turned {the numbers’ creators} into the laughingstock of the numbers community.
It is bad enough that one analytical mathematician, the U.C. Irvine professor Hal S. Stern, has called for the statistical community to boycott participation…

Development: the Greatest Story Ever Told

After all the efforts of the last 6 decades, only a minority of countries are developed. That seems like a sad indication that the odds are long as countries struggle to attain Development. Yet let’s not take the Development that has been achieved for granted.
If you beat the odds, the payoff is remarkably large (which is maybe why all of us are working so hard on Development!) As the figure shows, a third of the sample of countries is at $8000 per capita or better in 2008, and a fifth of the sample is $16,000 per capita or better. In this sample, there is a 1 percent chance of getting all the way to national average income per person of $32,000.

“Proofiness:” trashing back on FAO hunger numbers

Just before the big UN meetings here in New York around the Millennium Development Goals, the FAO released new world hunger numbers, and Aid Watch listed reasons to worry that these numbers were “made up.”
A blog post from Oxfam GB’s Duncan Green called our post “lazy and supercilious,” with the amusing headline “Easterly trashed.”  The accusation that I am “lazy” struck a raw nerve, and so I have responded forcefully by asking Laura to do more work.

FAO senior economist responds on “made-up world hunger numbers”

We received this comment this morning from David Dawe, senior economist at FAO, in response to Wednesday’s post
Spot the made-up world hunger numbers. Kudos for the prompt reply and the willingness to engage in discussion.
Dear Professor Easterly,

From deadly data to lively pictures


For those of you who have not yet discovered the wonderful Hans Rosling, go to his Gapminder to discover whole new ways of visualizing development in motion. See the classic hilarious video of his TED talk, or something more recent.

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