The scientific case for questionable accuracy

Stephen Gordon responds to the new Chief Statistician’s claim there’s “no scientific basis” for claiming the National Household Survey will be flawed.

This is wrong, and badly so. So wrong that when his political masters suggested in public that the analysts at Statistics Canada were of this opinion, Munir Sheikh – Mr Smith’s predecessor as Chief Statistician – felt obliged to resign in order to speak freely and correct the record … In point of fact, Statistics Canada has done quite a bit of research documenting the fundamental flaws associated with voluntary surveys; see Kevin Milligan’s guest post as well as this. Insisting that “critics cannot be sure” is a remarkable thing for a Chief Statistician to say; statistics is not in the business of providing absolute certainty.

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