Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are taxi drivers really that dangerous?

AsiaOne Motoring reported that taxi drivers were either dangerous or just unlucky, as they accounted for 14% of accidents, but formed 3% of the vehicle population in 2009, as shown in the chart below:

Source: AsiaOne Motoring
However, taxi drivers spend longer hours on the road, and would naturally be involved in a more-than-proportionate number of accidents. A fairer way to assess them is to look at the number of accidents per km driven; how do they fare in this regard?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Elections: Do individuals or parties matter more? Do national or local issues carry more weight?

Do voters vote for parties or individuals? Do national issues like immigration or local issues like traffic matter more?  On one hand, "macro" issues like the branding and track record of a political party, as well as the direction national policies are taking, must carry some weight with voters. On the other hand, voters are surely concerned about their day-to-day needs. Their perception of the individual(s) running in their wards would also factor in their voting decisions. Let's call these "local" issues. 

Can we measure the relative importance of "macro" and "local" factors?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Were there more babies in 2012 because of the dragon year?

As mentioned in an earlier post, I used simple but fairly robust methods to estimate the dragon baby effect in 2000. Although Chinese births shot up 10% over the previous year, Malay and Indian births also increased. This might have occurred because people were becoming more confident about the future, having just come out of a financial crisis. Making the necessary adjustments, I found that the dragon year boosted births by 5.7%, rather than the 10% you'd get from a cursory look.

The 2012 dragon year is almost over, but we already have almost all the data from 2012 to work with, so  let's find out if the dragon year effect is stronger or weaker this year. While the press does note the rise in births in 2012, we do have some skeptics who called the dragon baby effect a "myth". Who is right?

Who will win the Punggol by-election?

Image: AsiaOne
In an earlier post, I used bookmakers' odds to estimate the probability of an Obama win in the US presidential election. Punters' gave Obama a 93-98% chance of winning the election, and history proved them right.

This Saturday, voters in Punggol East will vote in what some have called a close fight. Although four parties are contesting for the ward, all eyes will be on the PAP and WP who together garnered about 95% of the constituency's votes in the last election. Who will win?