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The maldistribution of rice

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Though I rarely mention being a one-time rice economist, I put it in my biodata this week for a seminar at the International Rice Research Institute (Irri), on “The most rapid survey-based tracking of hunger and poverty in the world.” The title is an assertion I have made about the SWS surveys many times, here and abroad, that has never been challenged.

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

FOI for government statistics

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I look forward to a Freedom of Information Act that will, in particular, increase public access to the raw data gathered in the government’s censuses and surveys, which underlie its published summary statistics, and, indeed, could be used to produce many other statistics of value that the government does not publish.

Posted: March 15th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

New numbers on happiness

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Last week, Social Weather Stations released its December 2013 survey findings that 86 percent of Filipino adults nationwide were happy with life in general, and 83 percent of them were satisfied with their lives.

Posted: March 8th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

What non-NCR managers say about corruption

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This week, SWS had gigs in Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) and Davao City, as part of the roadshow of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) for regional competitiveness, by sharing the SWS Survey of Enterprises on Corruption directly with people from government, business and academia in seven sample areas. Earlier gigs were in the cities of Makati (for the National Capital Region or NCR) and Tagaytay (for Cavite-Laguna-Batangas or CLB). The CDO presentation showed data combined with Iligan City (abbreviated CDO-I). The roadshow goes next to the cities of Cebu, Iloilo and Angeles.

Posted: March 1st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Jobless, but ‘employed’

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Last Tuesday, the Inquirer’s subhead, “SWS: Unemployment rate rose to 27.5% in Q4,” was critically imprecise, because the SWS statistic Joblessness is defined differently from the official statistic Unemployment. To emphasize the difference here, I write the former with a capital J, and the latter with a capital U. Unlike the ordinary mass media, SWS is careful not to interchange its term Joblessness with the official term Unemployment.

Posted: February 14th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Pro real-wage growth

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The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is very often called the economic pie available to the people. When divided by the population, it becomes the so-called per capita GDP, which would be available if shared equally—an assumption which is only arithmetical, and not factual—among Filipinos.

Posted: February 7th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Poverty, hunger and ‘Yolanda’

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Super Typhoon “Yolanda” was so devastating that it raised Self-rated Poverty by three points, Self-rated Food Poverty also by three points, and Hunger by almost one point, according to the Social Weather Survey of Dec. 11-16, 2013. Incidentally, it also raised President’s Aquino’s net satisfaction rating by one point.

Posted: January 24th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Survey reporting 101

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One of the hazards of giving a multifaceted survey report is that the media get more leeway to select items of their liking. Offer the media a buffet, and they’ll only take what dishes they like, and not try to taste others.

Posted: January 17th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

No shelter in the poverty line

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It is fair to use the term “substandard” (Inquirer editorial, 1/9/2014) for the 8.64-square-meter (sqm) bunkhouses being built for survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” because this is smaller compared not only to the 17.5 sqm “international standard” of the Sphere Project, but also to the 18 sqm minimum building design standard set by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

Posted: January 10th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

No electricity in the poverty line

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The release of new poverty statistics last Monday, by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), was the very first time the government made two reports on poverty in a single year. The first one, on April 23, 2013, referred to poverty in the first semester of 2012. The second one, on Dec. 9, 2013, refers to it in the full year of 2012, and hence implicitly adds new data for the second semester of 2012. It was also the first time for data of a reference year to be reported within 12 months; ordinarily, it would only be in February 2014 that the public would learn about official poverty in 2012.

Posted: December 13th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Pope Francis wants surveys

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I might have guessed that the main reason for my being invited to the Loyola School of Theology (LST) was that Pope Francis, bless his kind heart, had just sent Catholic bishops everywhere a set of questions, with a directive to answer these right away. Some questions are on the activities of the bishops, but those on the state of the flock are best answered by scientific surveys.

Posted: December 6th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The heartless concern for GDP

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To meaningfully tally the economic devastation caused by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” one should count the numbers of people, not the money value of production, affected. As of Nov. 21, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 4,011 persons dead, 18,567 injured, and 1,602 missing.

Posted: November 23rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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