1 Introduction

This is supposed to be your first course in statistics. So the goal is to give you an overview of what statistics is, why it is a powerful thing to know, how you can use it to make informed decision or understand “numbers speak” people throw around in the news.

At the end of this class, I hope:

1- You understand the importance of statistics;

2- You can better appreciate the numbers you get from the news;

3- You can perform your own analysis to inform yourself, and your collaborators.

The explosion of data has brought statistics to the ranks of the sexiest skills of our time. “I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians”, said Hal Varian, chief economist at Google.

Mc Kinsey & Company published a report in 2011, in which it is projected that: By 2018 there will be a shortage of about 200,000 Data Analysts and 1.5 million data savvy managers, and analysts, in the US alone. The report adds that most people “simply need enough conceptual knowledge and quantitative skills to be able to frame and interpret analyses in an effective way. It is possible to develop such skills through a single course in statistics and experimental design.” So, welcome to econ-215. In this class, we will learn basic concepts in statistics, and the application of statistical reasoning to decision making.

Before we dive into statistics, let’s watch some videos just to give you reasons you should care about these stuffs.

  1. Statistics affect almost all aspect of our lives

  2. Today’s businesses rely heavily on statistics

  3. Statistics can help a politician win elections

Here is a video on how the Obama Campaign used statistics to win the election

Obviously, we would need more than statistics to win elections. However, it would be extremely difficult to win without statistics.