Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Averages and "every"

A favourite hate of mine is public policy based on calculation of aggregate social "betterment" without consideration of the distributional impact.

A good example of the bad craft appeared today in the West Australian saying "Australians will each be $8000 richer by the turn of the decade even with a carbon tax, according to figures Treasurer Wayne Swan will release today."

What they mean is "on average" - there may be one person 20 million times $10000 better off and 20 million people $2000 worse off - that is still (basically) an average of $8000.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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