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Do you believe?

I just wondered whether, as a rule, you believe National Statistics figures published on such things as the national accounts, unemployment, GDP, population, benefit claimants, benefit fraud, etc?

And if you don't, is it any particular figure or the whole lot of them? And also, who is doing the massaging of the figures and to what end?

Do you think anyone produces better (or at least more honest) figures?

[As a disclaimer, whilst I'm not a statistician, I've worked on the publication of some of these figures]

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
fractalgeek
Dec. 22nd, 2009 11:10 am (UTC)
The more specific, the better. "Nebulous" stuff like "economic output" gets refined as time goes along.

The real issue is when multiple definitionns get used - eg "inflation" and things are tied to different definitions....
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undyingking
Dec. 22nd, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
I tend to trust the ONS by default unless there's a particular scare otherwise, and I can't remember any such in recent years.
simonjrogers
Dec. 23rd, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
I suspect they are honestly collected and collated. There accuracy or usefulness depends on the nature of what is being collected, for example the number of people getting married is probably highly accurate, whereas the number of knife crime is less so. I use and trust ONS data, whilst being keenly aware of the margins of error.
kruku
Dec. 29th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
I believe that all statistics are biased in favour of the agenda of whomever commissioned them.

And since in this case said statistics are collated to support, with bias, politciians, who lie on principle... no.

gbsteve
Dec. 30th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
So what about independent bodies like ONS?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )