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 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 Economics Education
Here’s what four years of economics education has done to my political leanings.
On Turkey's Bloody Friday
It's one thing to feel oppressed, but it's another thing to feel alone. Spread the word.
On the Effectiveness of Higher Sin Taxes
Last year, President Aquino signed the Sin Tax Bill. It's now been half a year since the new taxes were implemented, and it's a good time to assess how it's been achieving its goals so far.
On the Syrian Ghouta Chemical Attacks
: UN Facts and Figures
The United Nations has recently concluded an investigation into the Syrian chemical attack last August 21, 2012 and concluded that chemicals, particularly the nerve agent Sarin, were indeed used against civilians, including children.
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 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 the News
: No Double Standard Here
NO DOUBLE STANDARD - The World Economic Forum published its Global Gender Gap Report 2013, which assesses the level of gender equality in different countries. The Philippines is ranked 5th highest in terms of gender equality, an improvement from past years, and the highest in Asia. Of the four aspects, the country performed well in terms of educational attainment and health, but was performed poorly in terms of economic and political participation.
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 the Effectiveness of Sin Taxes in the Philippines
: 2013 Q3 Update
SIN TAXED - How effective are higher sin taxes at reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption? Some say it's a 'tax on the poor' and it would only lead to downshifting to cheaper, more dangerous brands, others are all for it, armed with the basic principle of demand. Newly released 3rd quarter national accounts can shed light on the situation.
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 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 Presidents and Priorities
: Distilling the Numbers out of the State of the Nation Address
The President's annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) is a strong indicator of an administration's priorities and accomplishments, but how do we compare across presidents? We can distill the SONA into numbers and count instances of national issues mentioned in the speech to find out and compare. You can also explore the speeches yourself using an interactive SONA word counter.
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 Fraud and Fake Ballots
: Detecting election fraud through data
Election fraud in the Philippines is almost always alleged, but never really proven. We can explore an approach that can identify voting data patterns those most likely to be associated with vote padding - adding fake ballots - and find out how the sanctity of the ballot can be preserved by the thoughtful use of election data.
On Delays and Dropouts
: A Data Primer on Education
Using new data from the Department of Education, we can take a look at the current state of Philippine education. Is everyone being educated, is it inclusive, and teachers being paid enough? Find out in this article.
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 Pork and Plunder
: The numbers behind the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam
In one of the rarest moments in Philippine history, three high-ranking lawmakers were arrested on charges of plunder related to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel scam.
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.
: Do Filipinos really pay the highest taxes among ASEAN countries?'
Congress is moving to lower income tax rates for Filipinos, with impetus from a report by the Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) asserting that Filipinos pay the highest income tax rates in Southeast Asia. Let's investigate this claim and determine whether the argument holds water.
On the Effectiveness of Higher Sin Taxes
: Losing Steam? (2014 Q2 Update)
We update our assessment on the effectiveness of sin taxes with fresh national accounts data for the second quarter of 2014, and learn that sin taxes may be losing steam - smokers and drinkers may be having a hard time kicking the habit.
On Taxes versus Sales
: How large is government compared to publicly-listed corporations?
Have you ever wondered how government finances compare to the largest publicly-listed corporations in the country? When the financial bulk of private entities outweigh that of the public purse, it may give rise to undue influence over regulation and legislation. Data from public company disclosures and Department of Finance can help us investigate the matter.
On Benford's Law
: Determining import fraud risk using customs data
If you were to think of the first digits of a group of related variables, say, tax payments, it would be intuitive to think that the digits would more or less be evenly distributed between 1 to 9. However, it turns out that the exponential nature of growth makes it such that the first digits are more likely to be 1's than any other number.
On the Elections
: Election Fingerprints (Part 1)
In this elections series, we'll explore various aspects of the 2016 Philippine National Elections, from fraud detection to the differences in how our country votes. In this first instalment, we learn about election fingerprints and how they may be used to detect fraud in the form of ballot stuffing or vote padding.