On Quotes from F.A. Hayek
“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they can imagine they can design.”
On Video: Trial & Error and the God Complex
It seems so obvious when you listen to him, but it’s when you look around and see everyone trying to fix the world’s problems with their own preconceived master plans that you see how few people grasp the beautiful heuristic process of variation and selection.
On the Power of Prices
: Informative, Summative, and Coordinating
It is only through the voluntary coordination of the efforts of various economic agents that we can make the products we use today.
On Interest Rates and Mortality
A limited time on this earth makes time precious.
Sometimes the noise is more important than the signal.
On that Moment of Choice
No matter how rationally we try to act, that one moment of choice is still a purely emotional exercise.
On Prize-Linked Savings
It’s basically a no-lose lottery; you get the chance to hit a big payday, but you still get to keep your money if you don’t.
On Melting Coins and Negative Seignorage
We're running out of coins!
On the Economics of Ticket Scalping
We analyze ticket scalping during UAAP games using a simple demand and supply framework.
On What Manila Could Have Been
Manila wasn't always like this, however. It had a proper urban plan set out for it during the American colonial period, one that would, in my opinion truly make it the "Pearl of the Orient."
On the Great Gatsby Curve and Electric Fences in South Africa
The Great Gatsby tells the story of a man who claws his way from rags to riches, but finds that wealth alone cannot provide him the privileges of those born in the upper class. On the economic side of things, a new and hotly debated idea, dubbed the Great Gatsby curve, encapsulates this anecdote in data. It illustrates the possibility that income inequality might lead to lower social mobility in a country.
On the News
: The Philippines is hitting the jackpot, and the cash is here to stay
This week in news: The Philippines posts large gaming revenue gains from recent resort and casino developments along Manila Bay, and the risk of capital flight remains relatively low amid prudent government finance and capital controls. Read more about them in this post.
On Tax Evasion
: They go to crooked politicians, anyway
The Tax Justice Institute estimated the amount of taxes lost due to tax avoidance for several countries, including the Philippines, using World Bank data on shadow economies (the unregulated, but not illegal part of the market).
On Crappy Opinion Polls and Belt Tightening
Online opinion surveys, especially about objectively determinable facts, are at the fringes of proper research. Why ask people what's in their shopping carts when you can just see for yourself?
On Why You Shouldn't Save While You're Young
"Save while you're young" is one of the most common pieces of financial advice for the fresh young professional, but there is an economic argument that it can be overdone. In your early twenties, you're better off having fun, learning, and making new connections, because YOLOETSI (You Only Live Once and the Earnings Trajectory Strictly Increases).
On Moving People, not Cars
With the rainy season in full swing, monstrous traffic jams yet again plague the Philippine capital. There is a lot of blame to go around - some say we're too reliant on private transportation, and others say undisciplined, unregistered, and reckless buses are the real culprit. Let's take a closer look at the data and see if it can provide some clarity.
On Giving Cash to the Poor
New research suggests that unconditional cash transfers to the poor may not be as misguided as usually perceived.
On True Filipino Resilience
Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) struck the Philippine central islands last November 8, 2012.
On Yolanda/Haiyan Foreign Aid
: Who is giving what, and to whom?
SHOW ME THE MONEY - Foreign aid for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) has reached staggering levels, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs pegging the value at P19.53 billion. Data on these massive aid flows can be visualized to show the donors, and through which channels the donations were made.
On Philippine Foreign Trade
: USA vs China
The world is in the middle of an epic struggle for political influence between the USA and China, but what does this mean for Filipinos, who are trapped in the middle, both in the geographic and political sense? We can take a look at the data on one of the avenues of influence, foreign trade, and find out a little bit more.
On Christmas in the Philippines
Christmas festivities in the Philippines are world-renowned. Spectacular light displays, early morning mass, and smiles all around make it hard to be in the island nation during this time of the year and not feel the spirit of Christmas. Let's take a look at the data and see how we can quantify Christmas in the Philippines.
On Trains and Tribulations
: The LRT South Extension and Fare Hikes
The Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension Project is now out for bidding, with the contract to be awarded in the second quarter of this year. The rail system is under intense public scrutiny amidst talks of fare hikes, but as in most cases, a look at the data can lend some meaningful context to these debates: fare hikes, capacity constraints, and South Extension feasibility.
On Maximizing Your Interview Chances
: Schedule it right after a break
If you have an interview coming up, whether it be for a job, award, or in this particular study, parole, your chances are best when the interviewers are fresh from a break. A group of researchers at the National Academy of Sciences confirmed what we had suspected all along - happy tummies make happy decisions. Read on to find out more!
On Getting to Know the Filipino Informal Settler
How well do you know the Filipino informal settler? Is he poor and underprivileged? What happens if you force him to pay rent? Well, short of actually starting a conversation with one, we can get to know the Filipino informal settler through data. Read on to find out more.
On the Philippine IT-BPO Industry
: "Bayaning Puyat" or Dead-end Job?
The call center industry, or more widely called IT-BPO, has received its fair share of praise for contributing to economic and job growth, but a job in this industry still carries the stigma of low pay and low skill. We can take a look at the IT-BPO industry using data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to shed some light on the graveyard shift.
On Corruption and Collusion
: Immoral acts are more likely when there are others with which to share the blame
"They say corruption is 'infectious,' and you risk being 'eaten up by the system' when you enter government. In this article, we take a look at evidence that reveals how individual morality can be dampened if you have cohorts to share the blame with you, among other factors."
On Inflation and Poverty
: It's getting more expensive to be poor
Because the prices of various goods and services rise and fall at different rates, different groups of people, most notably the poor, experience the burden of inflation much more than the rest of the population.
On Purchasing Power Parities, the Big Mac Index, and the International Comparison Programme
The GDP per capita of the Philippines exceeds that of India by 55%, but the cost of living is so much cheaper in India that if you account for cheaper goods and services, that difference narrows to only 20%. In this first installment of Numbersense, we will take a look at purchasing power parities and why they are important for cross-country comparisons.
On the S&P Credit Rating Upgrade
: The Numbers Behind BBB
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has raised the Philippines sovereign credit rating from BBB- to BBB, making it fully in the ranks of investment-grade sovereign debt. Let's look through those three B's and look at the data behind their decision.
On Presidential Priorities (July 2014)
: Aquino moves toward legacy
The annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President of the Philippines, when distilled using word counts, can provide insight into the pressing issues of the day. We update [our original post ](/2014/02/sona-words.html) to include the latest 2014 SONA by President Aquino.
On the Economics and Data of Love, Dating, and Relationships
Last Valentine's Day, I was asked by my former college organization to deliver a talk on the "data of love, dating, and relationships" as part of their Young Economists' Lecture and Learning Series at De La Salle University.
On Pump Prices
: Where can you gas up for less?
What providers let your stretch you gas money for more miles? Where is it more economical to gas up? Data from the Department of Energy's price watch can provide some data-driven answers to these questions.
On Imperial Manila, Modernization Failure, and Comparative Advantage
: A close look at regional accounts
With traffic jams and port congestion an all-too-common sight in the Philippine capital, there is growing sentiment that development should be moved away from the metropolis and into other regions. What does the data, particularly regional accounts from the Philippine Statistics Authority, have to say?
On the MRT
: A Capacity Conundrum
The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT) has been operating at 142% capacity since 2004. New prototype trains have been scheduled to arrive in 2015, but the actual deployment will still be in the following year. How bad is the current train situation? Let's find out through data!