Category Archives: statistics

Intractability of Poverty…Inequality must be dealt with

[The title is attributed to Secretary Joel Rocamora during the press conference today, 23 April 2013.] 

My two earlier posts on income distribution point to the obvious, – that income distribution appears to be set in concrete to the disadvantage of the non-rich.

—————————————————

Press Release

<http://www.nscb.gov.ph/pressreleases/2013/PR-201304-NS1-04_poverty.asp&gt;


Poverty incidence unchanged,
as of first semester 2012—NSCB
                           
Filipino Version
(NSCB-PR-201304-NS1-04, Posted23 April 2012)

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) releases its latest report today on the state of poverty in the country. The report— using data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) last July 2012– measured poverty incidence or the proportion of people below the poverty line to the total population.

In a press briefing, NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon G. Albert reports that poverty incidence among population was estimated at 27.9 percent during the first semester of 2012.  Comparing this with the 2006 and 2009 first semester figures estimated at 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively, poverty remained unchanged as the computed differences are not statistically significant.

Food and poverty thresholds

The report points out that during the first semester of 2012, a Filipino family of five needed PhP 5,458 to meet basic food needs every month and Php 7,821 to stay above the poverty threshold (basic food and non-food needs) every month. These respective amounts represent the food and poverty thresholds, which increased by 11.1 percent from the first semester of 2009 to the first half of 2012, compared to the 26.0 percent-increase between the 1st semesters of 2006 and 2009.  

The food threshold is the minimum income required by an individual to meet his/her basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), while remaining economically and socially productive. Put another way, the food threshold helps measure food poverty or “subsistence,” which may also be described as extreme poverty.

Poverty threshold is a similar concept, but incorporates basic non-food needs, such as clothing, housing, transportation, health, and education expenses, among others.

Poverty among Filipino families

The NSCB also releases statistics on poverty among families—a crucial social indicator that guides policy makers in their efforts to alleviate poverty.

According to the report, the subsistence incidence, which represents the proportion of Filipino families in extreme poverty, was estimated at 10.0 percent during the first semester of 2012. At 10.0 percent in the first semester of 2009 and 10.8 percent in the first half of 2006, the differences among these three figures remain statistically insignificant.

In terms of poverty incidence among families, the NSCB estimates a rate of 22.3 percent during the first semester of 2012, and 23.4 percent and 22.9 percent during the same periods in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

Estimated cost of eradicating poverty

The NSCB also releases other poverty-related statistics, such as the income gap. This measures the amount of income required by the poor in order to get out of poverty, in relation to the poverty threshold itself. This may be used as a hypothetical benchmark for the amount needed to eradicate poverty as a whole, assuming expenses are focused solely on assistance rather than on targeting costs (such as operations and implementation). 

In other words, using figures for the income gap and the poverty threshold, the NSCB estimates the total cost of poverty eradication (exclusive of targeting costs) is Php 79.7 billion for the first semester of 2012. It should be noted that the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the CCT was Php 39.4 billion for the entirety of 2012.

More frequent release of poverty statistics

The release of the latest official poverty statistics is a remarkable milestone for the country. In previous years, official poverty statistics were only released every three years, and usually with a one-year time lag from the year when the FIES data was first collected. However, starting this year, poverty statistics will be available in two series for every year in which the FIES is conducted—once, for the first semester and secondly, for the entire year.

In August 2012, Director General Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) suggested to the NSCB and the NSO to examine FIES data for the first semester of 2012 and release it as quickly as possible. This is consistent with earlier efforts and discussions of the TC PovStat and the NSCB to respond to the growing need for more frequent and timely poverty statistics.

Albert says that the NSCB—along with partner institutions such as the NSO, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) and the members of the TC PovStat – ramped up the estimation and publication schedule to make this possible, while ensuring data quality and accuracy.

He hopes that, through this initiative , the Philippine Statistical System, particularly the NSCB, will be able to deliver a clearer, more relevant and more up-to-date snapshot of poverty in the Philippines to help policymakers and stakeholders alike (from both the public and private sectors) craft informed programs and policies based on timely and accurate statistics. 

<http://www.nscb.gov.ph/pressreleases/2013/PR-201304-NS1-04_poverty.asp&gt;

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Why has family income distribution remained unchanged for the past half-century?

Finally I found a source to explain this most unfortunate situation in the Philippines.  I have simply excerpted from the column ‘There’s the Rub’ by Conrado de Quiros entitled ‘Dagdag-bawas’ in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012.  And he was writing about the senatorial line-ups for the May 2013 elections.  <http://opinion.inquirer.net/37944/dagdag-bawas&gt;

xxxxx

I saw these things and realized that there is only one constant in our politics, or history. That is the incredible capacity of the elite, political and social, to survive. That is the incredible capacity of the elite to mend their differences, however those differences seem stark at one point, and find a new lease on life. That is the incredible capacity of the elite to come together and build a united front against a common enemy, which is change. (highlighting mine)

It was so then, it is so now.

xxxxx

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Pinoys Look at P-Noy’s Porsche and Are Dissatisfied?

Malacanang occupants should remember the voting percentages for P-Noy in the May 2010 elections (see Table 1 below).  Maybe for 12-18 months these would be the core BSA3 support for key contentious issues.  These would be the groups which will give him the benefit of the doubt and take his side for some time.

Table 1. VOTE FOR PRESIDENT, BY CLASS (%)

TOTAL RP

ABC

D

E

AQUINO BENIGNO SIMEON III C. ‘NOYNOY’

44

48

44

36

Estrada Ejercito, Joseph M. ‘Erap’

25

19

27

32

Villar, Manuel Jr. B. ‘Manny’

13

11

14

16

Teodoro Gilberto Jr. C. ‘Gibo’

11

14

8

9

Villanueva Eduardo C. ‘Bro. Eddie’

3

4

3

3

Gordon Richard J. ‘Dick’

2

2

1

2

Acosta Vetellano S. ‘Dodong’

1

1

1

1

Madrigal Jamby A. S. ‘Jamby’

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.1

De Los Reyes John Carlos G. ‘Jc’

0.2

0.3

0.1

0.1

Perlas Jesus Nicanor P. ‘Nick’

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

Can’t Answer/Refused

1

1

1

1

Source: SWS May 2010 Elections Exit Poll

48 percent of ABC voters chose Aquino; D voters, 44 percent, and E voters, 36 percent.

Porsche Issue

I had written Mahar Mangahas on the Porsche issue and how this was picked by media to bear down on the decline of P-Noy’s satisfaction ratings.  The text of my letter is as follows:

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Hi Mahar.

P-Noy’s ratings fell significantly for a new President, if we are to compare him with the others starting with his mother’s term.

Probably there are many other reasons but the SWS press release seems to attribute this solely to his Porsche purchase.

The statement posed to respondents was for me not neutrally phrased (kind of leading), a la Serge Osmena’s style of phrasing for his messaging strategy:

‘Pres. Aquino’s purchase of an expensive car such as a Porsche, even if through his own money, is not a good example for a President of a country like the Philippines.’

I would think that it would be difficult to disagree with such statement.

It is interesting that 1 out of  5, specifically the D and E classes, was undecided, did not want to take a position, or unsure of what the question/statement meant or wanted to elicit.

My opinion.  Please correct me if I am wrong, subject to availability of your time.

——————————————————————————

Mahar replied back:

——————————————————————————

Dear Butch,

…..
We put the Porsche item in the press release since it’s the only other survey item directly about PNoy that is open to report; we just didn’t want to devote a separate press release to the Porsche matter alone.  We could not have selected the Porsche item as “the cause” of anything, since there was nothing else to select.

Since all “agree-disagree” statements are vulnerable to affirmation bias, a question designer has to consciously choose what position is to be affirmed.  It is our practice to choose the “common sense” or orthodox position, which in this case is that buying such an expensive car does not set a good example.

Suppose we had used the reverse statement that “there is nothing wrong with PNoy’s buying the Porsche since anyway it’s his own money”?  To have done it that (unorthodox) way would have risked criticism for being too soft on PNoy, rather than neutral.

—————————————————————————

I defer to the long experience of SWS on these surveys, including how it designs questions,

But let us focus on the message, not the messenger.

Net Ratings

A positive net rating indicates that the respondents agree that it is not a good example that P-Noy has set by buying a Porsche, even with his own money.

A negative net rating could mean that it is a good example?  Perhaps it would be more appropriate to interpret this in the way that Malacanang does.  That this is a personal matter.  That the President is entitled to some leisure time and can use his free time to unwind in the way he wants to, like driving fast cars or practice shooting at the range.  That he did not use government funds. I wonder if this would be akin to playing golf by FVR and GMA.

But it is only in the ABC class where we observe this negative rating (-2).  The D (+17) and E (+15) respondents have positive net ratings.  Has the message from Malacanang only catered or made sense to the ABC class?  Note that the D and E classes have little access to leisure time, access and opportunity.

According to the Family Income and Expenditures Survey of the National Statistics Office, Filipino families in 2009 spent a measly 0.4 percent of their income for recreation.  Also, the average income of the top 1 percent of the income distribution was less than Php 1.9 million.

So it is still somewhat positive that a third of the D (33 percent) and E (31 percent) took the side of Malacanang, as did 48 percent of class ABC.

Going back to P-Noy’s voters last May 2011, it is interesting that 48 percent of class ABC supported him.  This is the same percentage that sided with him in the Porsche issue; there is only a small percentage (6) that was undecided.  Of course it would be too presumptuous to think that the same 48 percent who voted for him are the same 48 percent who sided with him here.  But the conclusion is that this core among the ABC has not been eroded, nor added to.

This is not the case with voter percentages for the D and E classes versus those favorable to the ‘Porsche’ issue. For D, it is 44 vs. 33; and for E, 36 vs.31.  Note also the significant percentages of the undecided, 18 percent for D and 24 percent for E.  Malacanang should sharpen its focus of their messaging to the D and E groups, especially the ‘undecideds’, to keep at least his voters loyal to him.

This is of course a conservative way of targeting their constituency, at least in this Porsche issue or anything related to this genre.  Otherwise it would be the sentiments of Juana Change that would offer the more compelling argument/s, as it seemed.

Well, back to the title, I am unsure if the correlation between the purchase of the Porsche and the decline in P-Noy’s ratings is significant.  As Mahar had written and let me reiterate, ‘We put the Porsche item in the press release since it’s the only other survey item directly about PNoy that is open to report; we just didn’t want to devote a separate press release to the Porsche matter alone.  We could not have selected the Porsche item as “the cause” of anything, since there was nothing else to select’.

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Family Income Distribution in the Philippines, 1985-2009: Essentially the Same

0.  From the following data and discussion we may be able to form conclusions on whether the distribution of income has become more equitable/equal over the past five (5) decades.   With percentile data, I will present different ways of grouping families according to income obtained from the Family Income and Expenditures (FIES) surveys, the latest of which is for 2009.  I will divide the distribution at the median; look at the top one (1) percent families; examine the coefficients of variation (CVs) at the percentiles; compare Gini coefficients; and, even though lacking in statistical rigor, impose the socio-economic classification of classes A, B, C, D and E on the percentile distribution.
A.  Median incomes

1.  The median income from 1961 to 2009, nearly half a century, splits the upper 50 percent with an 80 percent share of income and the lower half, with 20 percent.

As of 2009, the distribution appears to be the same at the end of Martial Law days.

Table 1.  Median Income and Income Distribution, 1961 – 2009
Family Income 1961 1985 2000 2003 2006 2009
Median income (x P1,000) 1 20 89 95 111 135
% Income Share of upper 50% families 82 80 82 81 81 80
% Income Share of lower 50 % families 18 20 18 19 19 20
Source: National Statistics Office.  Website: http://www.census.gov.ph; Family Income and Expenditures publications; Unpublished percentile data on incomes.

B.  Incomes of Top 1% families

2. In 1985, right before EDSA 1, the families in the top 1 percent (numbering about 100 thousand) of the income distribution earned an aggregate income of PhP 31.4 billion.  This is nearly what the combined 3.15 million families (or 32 percent) in the lower brackets of the distribution earned, which amounted to PhP 31.3 billion.

3. In 2000, right before EDSA 2, the top 1 percent families (numbering about 150 thousand) in the income distribution earned an aggregate income of PhP 251.2 billion.  This is nearly what the combined 5.8 million families (or 38 percent) in the lower brackets of the distribution earned, which amounted to PhP 249.6 billion.

4. In 2003, before the end of the first term of Mrs. Arroyo, the top 1 percent families (numbering about 165 thousand) in the income distribution earned an aggregate income of PhP 235.0 billion (hard to imagine that this declined by 6.4 percent from 2000 but this is the official figure).  This is nearly what the combined 5.3 million families (or 32 percent) in the lower brackets of the distribution earned, which amounted to PhP 227.1 billion.

5. In 2006, before the national elections, the top 1 percent families (numbering about 174 thousand) in the income distribution earned an aggregate income of PhP 256.3 billion.  This is nearly what the combined 5.2 million families (or 30 percent) in the lower brackets of the distribution earned, which amounted to PhP 257.9 billion.

6. In 2009, before the last national elections, some 185 thousand ‘top 1 percent’ families earned the equivalent of what 5.5 million ‘bottom 30-percent’ families collectively earned.

7. The 1:30 ratio in 2009 remained, or stabilized, at the same ratio in 2006.

Table 2.  Top 1% Families and Bottom % Families – Income Comparison
1985 2000 2003 2006 2009
Number of Top 1% Families (x1000) 100 150 165 174 185
with
Aggregate Income (PhP billion) 31.4 251.2 235 256.3 342.7
Equivalent to
Number of Families (in millions) 3.15 5.8 5.3 5.2 5.5
% of Total 32% 38% 32% 30% 30%
with
Aggregate Income (PhP billion) 31.3 249.6 227.1 257.9 343
Source: National Statistics Office.  Unpublished percentile data on incomes.

These results raise even more concern when one looks at the top individual taxpayers of 2009 released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in accordance with Section 71 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.  These individuals may not have been covered by the survey as their transactions would be categorized in statistical parlance as ‘rare events’ and thus would have little chance or probability of being selected as samples.

Table 3. BIR Top Individual Taxpayers 2009
Rank Taxpayer Tax Due
1 Elaine B. Gardiola P59.54 million
2 Wilfredo B. Revillame P57.25-million
3 Ronaldo R. Soliman P36.70 million
4 Ramon S. Ang P26.44 million
5 Oscar M. Lopez P25.70 million
66 Henry Sy, Sr P25.18 million
7 Carlos D.C. Ejercito P25.02 million
8 Bonifacio D. Gumboc, Jr P24.74 million
9 Ma. Teresa Caridad P. Gallego P24.45 million
10 Felipe L. Gozon P22.20 million
500 Hitoshi Goto P 3.57 million

Thus this is evidence that the families in the top 1 percent in the income distribution would be under-represented in the survey.  And these should have a higher income share, than is reflected in the FIES, and would further skew the distribution.

C. Coefficients of Variation of the Percentiles

7.  The coefficient of variation (CV) is the standard error expressed in terms of the arithmetic mean (average).  It is a measure of dispersion, a measure of disparity.  The coefficient of variation is useful because the standard deviation of data can be better understood in the context of the arithmetic mean of the data.  The following graphs chart out the CVs of income percentile data obtained from the NSO over many years.

8.  There are no significant changes aside from those at the tails, both at the lowest and highest ends.  The general outlook of the distribution is that of a ‘flat-liner’, bereft of activity showing change.  The family incomes are clustered closely together.  In 2009, eighty-nine (89) 0f the 100 percentile CVs were no greater than 0.1 percent.[2]

Table 4. Distribution of Percentile CVs, 2009
CV (in %) Frequency
0.01 -0.1 89
0.11 – 0.2 6
0.21 – 0.3 2
0.31 – 0.4
0.41 – 0.5 1
0.51 – 0.6
0.61 – 0.7
0.71 – 0.7
0.81 – 0.9
0.91 – 1.0 1
1.01 + 1

Groupings based on a cut-off, for instance, a point/line representing the poverty threshold imposed on these charts would appear to be insufficient.  Income alone would not be a valid indicator of poverty classification because of the observed ‘homogeneity’ of incomes.

D. Gini Cofficient

9.  The Gini coefficient is a measure of the inequality of a distribution, a value of 0 expressing total equality and a value of 1 maximal inequality.  The Gini coefficient is usually defined mathematically based on the Lorenz curve, which plots the proportion of the total income of the population (y axis) that is cumulatively earned by the bottom x% of the population.

10.  However, a low coefficient does not always mean an ideal condition.  It could be that many incomes are similar (either low or high).  In the Philippine example the acknowledged ‘income-poor’ Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao has the lowest coefficient followed by the ‘richer’ regions, such as the National Capital Region (NCR) and Central Luzon (Region III).

11. The ARMM had the lowest Gini ratio while Regions 8, 9 and 10 had the highest ratios.

Table 5. Gini ratios, 2009
Region Ratio
A R M M 0.2948
REGION III 0.3727
N C R 0.3953
REGION IV B 0.4004
REGION IV A 0.4063
REGION I 0.4086
REGION V 0.4164
REGION VI 0.4197
C A R 0.4212
REGION XI 0.4275
REGION II 0.4425
REGION XII 0.4425
Caraga 0.4595
REGION VII 0.4601
REGION X 0.4737
REGION IX 0.4738
REGION VIII 0.4841

Table 6. Gini ratios, 2006
Region Ratio
A R M M 0.3113
REGION I 0.3953
N C R 0.3988
REGION III 0.3994
REGION XII 0.4006
REGION IV A 0.4082
REGION IV B 0.4106
REGION II 0.4216
REGION XI 0.4225
REGION VI 0.4326
C A R 0.4418
REGION V 0.4428
Caraga 0.4452
REGION VII 0.4639
REGION X 0.4806
REGION VIII 0.4828
REGION IX 0.5054


11.  Nevertheless, the movement of the coefficient at the national level showed an indication of more equality or less inequality over the years, with the highest being in 1997 and 2000.

Table 7. Gini Coefficient, Philippines
Year Coefficient
1 1985 0.4466
2 1988 0.4446
3 1991 0.468
4 1994 0.4507
5 1997 0.4872
6 2000 0.4822
7 2003 0.4605
8 2006 0.458
9 2009 0.4484

12.  Of 135 countries and dependencies listed in the World Fact Book of the Central Intelligence Asia (CIA), the following rankings can be obtained.  It is clear that the Gini ratio is not always reflective of state of a country’s development[3].

Table 8. Countries with the lowest Gini Ratios
Country Gini ratio Reference Year
Sweden 23 2005
Norway 25 2008
Austria 26 2007
Czech Republic 26 2005
Luxembourg 26 2005
Malta 26 2007
Serbia 26 2008
Slovakia 26 2005
Albania 26.7 2005
Germany 27 2006


Table 9. Countries with the Highest Gini Ratios
Country Gini ratio Reference Year
Brazil 56.7 2005
Colombia 58.5 2008
Bolivia 59.2 2006
Haiti 59.2 2001
Central African Republic 61.3 1993
Sierra Leone 62.9 1989
Botswana 63 1993
Lesotho 63.2 1995
South Africa 65 2005
Namibia 70.7 2003

13.  Among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it was Laos with the lowest Gini, and Singapore with the highest..


Table 10. ASEAN Countries’ Gini Ratios
Country Gini ratio Reference Year
Laos 34.6 2002
Vietnam 37 2004
Indonesia 39.4 2005
Cambodia 43 2007 est.
Thailand 43 2006
Philippines 45.8 2006
Malaysia 46.1 2002
Singapore 48.1 2008
Myanmar N/A N/A

E.  ABCDE Socio-economic classification

14.  Market/opinion researchers classify according through proxies of wealth/assets, aside from measure of income to segment the (consumer) market.  These proxies may include conditions in the community where the residence of the respondent is, the types of materials used for the house, household furnishings, ownership of house and/or lot.

15.  From the 16 April 2007 release of Pulse Asia, its nationally-representative sample has seven (7) percent making up classes A, B, and C; sixty-seven (67) percent, class D; and twenty-five (25) percent, class E.  This breakdown has a sampling error of +/- 3 percent.  [Statistically speaking, classes ABC may be 4 to 10 percent of the population; class D, 64-70 percent; and class E, 22-28 percent.]

16.  In 2010, the breakdown became: 9 percent for class ABC; 62 percent for class D; and 29 percent for class E.  Class ABC can be further subdivided into class AB, 0.3 percent, and class C, 8.6 percent, although Pulse Asia estimates an undercount of class AB.

.

Table 11: Percent Distribution of Families, by Socio-Economic Class
Socio Economic Class Percent Share of Families to Total
2007 2010 My guess-timate*
ABC 7 9 10
of which: AB n.a. 0.3** 1
C n.a. 8.6 9
D 68 62 60
E 25 29 30
Source: Pulse Asia, in consultation with Dr. Ana Tabunda 

Note: * – Rounded off but within +/- 3% standard errors of 2010 figures

** -Undercounted due to refusals of AB respondents

.

17   While statistical rigor will not be as robust, we can apply the above percentages [my guess-timates] to the income distribution and find out how much income these classes earned in during the reference years.

Table 12. Percent Distribution of Families and Incomes, by Socio-Economic Class, 1985
CLASS Families Cumulative Income Average Income
Number Share Amount Share
(x 1000) % (x PhP 1 million) % (x PhP 1000)
ABC 985 10 111,420 36 113
D 5,908 60 165,857 54 28
E 2,954 30 28,498 9 10
Total 9847 100 305,775 100 31
Table 13. Percent Distribution of Families and Incomes, by Socio-Economic Class, 2000
CLASS Families Cumulative Income Average Income
Number Share Amount Share
(x 1000) % (x PhP 1 million) % (x PhP 1000)
ABC 1,507 10 838,445 38 556
D 9,043 60 1,174,919 54 130
E 4,522 30 173,886 8 38
Total 15072 100 2,187,250 100 145
Table 14. Percent Distribution of Families and Incomes, by Socio-Economic Class, 2003
CLASS Families Cumulative Income Average Income
Number Share Amount Share
(x 1000) % (x PhP 1 million) % (x PhP 1000)
ABC 1,648 10 884,478 36 537
D 9,888 60 1,346,581 55 136
E 4,944 30 206,191 8 42
Total 16480 100 2,437,250 100 148
Table 15. Percent Distribution of Families and Incomes, by Socio-Economic Class, 2006
CLASS Families Cumulative Income Average Income
Number Share Amount Share
(x 1000) % (x PhP 1 million) % (x PhP 1000)
ABC 1,740 10 1,082,478 36 622
D 10,442 60 1,669,309 56 160
E 5,221 30 254,316 8 49
Total 17,403 100 3,006,104 100 173
Table 16. Percent Distribution of Families and Incomes, by Socio-Economic Class, 2009
CLASS Families Cumulative Income Average Income
Number Share Amount Share
(x 1000) % (x PhP 1 million) % (x PhP 1000)
ABC 1,845 10 1,343,697 35 728
D 11,071 60 2,117,478 56 191
E 5,536 30 343,150 9 62
Total 18,452 100 3,804,325 100 206

18.  When class ABC is further subdivided into class AB and class C, it becomes apparent that class AB could be the top 1 percent, with an income share equal to that of class E.

Table 16-A. Percent Distribution of Families and Incomes, by Modified Socio-Economic Class, 2009
CLASS Families Cumulative Income Average Income
Number Share Amount Share
(x 1000) % (x PhP 1 million) % (x PhP 1000)
AB 185 1 342,736 9 1,857
C 1,661 9 1,000,960 26 603
D 11,071 60 2,117,478 56 191
E 5,536 30 343,150 9 62
Total 18,452 100 3,804,325 100 206

19. In summary, the shares of income of class ABC ranged from 35-38, class D, from 54-56, and class E, from 8-9 percent during the past, nearly a quarter-century, period from 1985-2009.

20.  The good news is that the income distribution has not worsened.  The bad news is that it has remained essentially the same..

G.  Summary

21.  From the following data and discussion we can surmise that development efforts for the past five (5) decades have failed to effect an equitable/equal distribution of income.

  • The median split has been at 82:18 to 80:20 in favor of the families at upper fifty (50) percent over the past fifty (50) years.
  • The top one (1) percent families earned income equivalent to income earned by 32 percent of the families at the bottom of the income ladder in 1985.  This peaked to 38 percent in 2000, was replicated in 2003, and moved down to 30 percent in 2006 and 2009.  In twenty-five (25) years the top 1 percent gave up two (2) percent to the families at the bottom rungs.
  • The CVs show very little variation at the percentiles except those at the extreme ends, indicating little spread of income across the entire distribution.
  • The Gini coefficient, with its measure of inequality subject to misinterpretation, had moved up during the ‘Baht’ financial crisis, and down from then on.  The Gini ratio of the Philippines is neither among the highest nor the lowest in the world, including ASEAN.
  • The shares of income of class ABC ranged from 35-38, class D, from 54-56, and class E, from 8-9 percent the past twenty-five (25) years from 1985-2009

22.  There is also utter lack of information on the distribution of family income which the government, particularly the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the statistical system, need to address.  Perhaps one of the reasons why the distribution has generally remained unchanged is because even if many think that this is so, there has been insufficient empirical evidence to establish its extent and chronicity.

23.  I also urge the government to come up with an official definition of the often-used ABCDE socio-economic classification and the ‘generic’ low-middle-high income classes.   in cooperation with the academe and private sector.  These are terms that many policy and decision-makers and the general public have come to accept and use rather than deciles, quintiles and percentiles and the government can respond by standardizing these and help improve the statistical literacy of society, in this case on income distribution.


[2] On the basis of this observation, a review of the sampling scheme may be valid since it appears that the sampling size can be reduced with the very low CVs; this may be the case of surveying ‘more of the same’.  The soundness of sub-national results may also be evaluated by examining relevant CVs at the percentiles/ /quintiles/deciles.  The FIES questionnaire should also be reviewed in this light; it has 950 items, with 234 on income, 677 on expenditures and others, 39.

[3] It has been pointed out that Gini coefficients can be computed using income or expenditure /consumption data and this should be considered when comparing country coefficients.

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Pulse Asia: Preferences for Presidentiables February 2010 Update

August to December 2009, January 2010 Surveys

Selected Candidates Aug 09 Oct 09 Aug-Oct Dec 09 Oct-Dec Jan 10 Dec-Jan Feb 10 Jan-Feb
Aquino 44 +44 45 +1 37 -8 36 -1
Villar 25 19 -6 23 +4 35 +12 29 -6
Estrada 19 11 -8 19 +8 12 -7 18 +6
Teodoro 0.2 2 +1.8 5 +3 5 0 7 +2
None/refused/undecided 3 4 +1 4 0 6 +2 6 0

°         Aquino had the same statistical level of preference in February as in January.

°         Villar slid down after a two month’s climb from the filing of candidacy in end-November up to the start of the campaign period, probably due to the heavy placements of his infomercials on media.  But this could not be legally sustained when the campaign period began in early February; this could be, among others, a reason for his decline of 6 percent.

°         Estrada increased by 6 percent from January.  It is interesting that he is back at December levels, regaining what he lost in January (possibly to Villar?).

°         Teodoro had 2 percentage points more from his January level; however this was still within the margin of error and thus, not statistically significant.

Pulse Asia continues to provide the interesting table on reasons for presidential preference.  The respondent is asked  ‘Bakit po ninyo iboboto si _____ bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas?’ The findings from the following table may be referenced with the above summary.

Reasons for preference May 09 Aug 09 Oct 09 Dec 09 Jan 10 Feb 10 Possible

Link*

1. Tumutulong, matulungin sa ofw/ibang sector [AID/ASSISTANCE] 6.6 11.8 12 11 11 11 Villar, Estrada
2. May nagawa, maraming nagawa [ACCOMPLISHMENTS] 11.6 25.3 14 11 16 14 Villar, Estrada
2a. Magaling/maganda ang palakad, [GOVERNANCE/EXPERIENCE] 4 8 6 7 Villar, Estrada
3. Hindi corrupt, walang kurakot, malinis [NOT CORRUPT] 7.1 6.3 21.2 21 24 26 Aquino
4. Mabait, mabuti, reputasyon ng pamilya [GOOD MAN/FAMILY] 5.6 3.7 4.2 12 9 10 Aquino
5. Makamasa, pagtingin sa mahirap, galling sa hirap [PRO-POOR] 27.3 20.3 12.2 27 24 22 Estrada, Villar
  • Conjectural

°         36 percent of the respondents gave the reasons of choosing their presidentiable because he is not corrupt and comes from a good family.  As can be seen, Aquino has a share of 36 percent.  In the December and January surveys, 33 percent gave these same reasons.  There is sufficient reason to conclude that one-third of the voters believe in the anti-corruption message and that these form the base of support of Aquino.

°         The gain of Estrada was the drop in Villar’s.  It could be that Estrada’s campaign ate into Villar’s votes since their propaganda materials both highlight the following reasons for preference: pro-poor, accomplishments, experience.

°         The number of refused/undecided/no choice has not gone down from August 2009 to February 2010.  Rather than be clarified of issues and/or personalities over the past 6 months, this group remains confused, skeptical and/or uncommitted.

Additional PERSONAL (caps and underscoring mine) Notes

°         It appears that Aquino has a lock on the non-corrupt/clean image unless his opponents make the issues on Hacienda Luisita and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway stain his image.

°         The opponent of Villar appears to be Estrada since their voters look up to them for the same issues other than those in which voters have assigned solely to Aquino.

°         Estrada may have a core base of 18-19 percent, based on the surveys from August 2009 to February 2010.

°         Perhaps Aquino’s message of change should not be focused against Villar but against GMA.


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Age Group Preferences for Presidentiables: Some Observations

Introduction

Pulse Asia had an interesting table on reasons for presidential preference.  The respondent was asked  ‘Bakit po ninyo iboboto si _____ bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas?’  The reasons could be grouped into 3, namely: (a) accomplishments, governance, assistance [1, 2 & 2a], (b) not corrupt, good man/family [3 & 4], and (c) pro-poor [5].

Table 1. Reasons for Preferences for Presidentiables, May 2009-January 2010
Reasons May 09 Aug 09 Oct 09 Dec 09 Possible

Link*

Jan 10
1. Tumutulong, matulungin sa ofw/ibang sector [AID/ASSISTANCE] 6.6 11.8 12 11 Villar, Estrada 11
2. May nagawa, maraming nagawa [ACCOMPLISHMENTS] 11.6 25.3 14 11 Villar, Estrada 16
2a. Magaling/maganda ang palakad, [GOVERNANCE/EXPERIENCE] 4 8 Villar, Estrada 6
3. Hindi corrupt, walang kurakot, malinis [NOT CORRUPT] 7.1 6.3 21.2 21 Aquino 24
4. Mabait, mabuti, reputasyon ng pamilya [GOOD MAN/FAMILY] 5.6 3.7 4.2 12 Aquino 9
5. Makamasa, pagtingin sa mahirap, galling sa hirap [PRO-POOR] 27.3 20.3 12.2 27 Villar, Estrada 24

* Conjectural

Likewise Pulse Asia made available to the public a table showing the preferences of respondents classified by age group, as of January 2010.  I also happened to chance upon a similar table as of December 2009 and put these together in Table 2. .

Table 2. First Choice Presidential Preference, by Age Group
Total 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 +
Aquino: 22-26 January 2010 37 46 32 32 40 38 42
Aquino: 6-12 December 2009 45 46 43 46 47*
Aquino: Change (8) (11) (14)
Villar: 22-26 January 2010 35 37 42 36 31 28 23
Villar: 6-12 December 2009 23 29 31 25 24*
Villar: Change 12 8 11 11
Estrada: 22-26 January 2010 12 7 14 10 13 15 16
Estrada: 6-12 December 2009 19 16 18 17 17*
Estrada: Change (7) (9) (4) (7)
Teodoro: 22-26 January 2010 5 5 4 6 7 4 3
Teodoro: 6-12 December 2009 5 4 3 6 5*
Teodoro: Change 1 1
Others: 22-26 January 2010 5 3 4 7 2 6 6
Others: 6-12 December 2009 3 4 4 4 4*
Others: Change 2 (1) 3
None/refused/undecided: Jan 10 6 2 4 9 7 9 10
None/refused/undecided: Dec 09 4 1 1 2 3*
None/refused/undecided: Change 2 1 3 7

Note: * – for 45+; no details on breakdown into age groups 45-54, 55-64, and 65+

Changes from December 2009 to January 2010

°         Villar gained shares in most of the age groups, except perhaps in the older age groups.

°         Aquino lost double-digit shares in most of the age groups except for the 18-24 age group, where it remained at the same levels.

°         Estrada also lost shares in most of the age groups.

°         Teodoro had minimal gains in the younger age groups.

°         The Undecideds in the 25+ age groups had increased.

I also tried to look at both tables, correlated the findings of the January 2010 survey with tables from the National Statistics Office website (www.census.gov.ph> and drew out some observations.

Findings of January 2010 Survey

°         Aquino tops 45 years old and over age groups

Those 45 years and over were at least 21 years old in 1986, the year of EDSA 1 and when Cory Aquino took over from Marcos.  Some analysts claim that these are the remains of the ‘Cory magic’ revived last August 2009.  I prefer to add the view that the preference of these age groups for Aquino has now translated to one not corrupt and coming from a good family (Table 1), that is, the fight between good and evil.  The message of anti-corruption of the Aquino campaign has so far given it a [pug] nose ahead in the overall results.

°         Villar leads among 25-44 years old

These age groups were too young during EDSA 1 but were already 16-35 years old in 2001 when Gloria Arroyo took over the deposed Joseph Estrada.   Manuel L. Quezon III presents an intriguing explanation for the support for Villar.

The Arroyo babies are those who have come of age in time for this election and are first-time voters, as well as those who came of age, politically speaking, in the aftermath of Edsa Dos, and voted for the first time in 2004.  That is, those who are 18 to 31 years of age.  The oldest were around 22, seniors or fresh graduates, when Edsa Dos took place.  Perhaps they felt the disappointment of the post-Edsa Dos years (and the panic of Edsa Tres) most keenly—they didn’t go out into the streets during “Hello, Garci” or NBN-ZTE scandals.  The middle includes those who were college freshmen during “Hello, Garci,” and who are 22 years old today, fresh graduates who may not have participated in rallies during “Hello, Garci” but who expressed indignation over the NBN-ZTE hearings….

Let me close with two opinions from this age group. One who belongs to the older range of the spectrum puts it this way: “Erap was tried and found guilty, hence his current standing. We tolerated Gloria because nothing has been proven. Hence, same with Villar: nothing has been proven, and he says he cares for the poor, so, vote for him.” Another, more in the middle of this age group, says, “The numbers say that we have resigned and accepted corruption as a fact of life since we became very politically aware in Edsa Dos.”  http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100204-251178

Let me add the tables on NSO data on age distribution of unemployment and overseas Filipinos to the discussion and the reasons for the preference of these age groups for Villar might become apparent.

Table 3. UNEMPLOYED PERSONS, Philippines, October 2009
Number (in thousands) 2,719 2,525
AGE GROUP (in percent)
Total 100 100
15 – 24 50.3 52
25 – 34 29.7 27.3
35 – 44 9.8 9.9
45 – 54 6.5 6.7
55 – 64 3 3.5
65 and Over 0.6 0.6

The age groups 25-44 year old actually represent the second largest group of unemployed, after the 15-24 age group.  The latter however includes those of age 15-17 and without additional information as of this time, I would leave out discussion of the 15-24 or 18-24 group later.

Table 4. OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS, 2008
Both Sexes Male Female
Number (In thousands)
Philippines 2,002 1,034 968
Age Group (in percent)
Total 100 100 100
15 – 24 10 6.7 13.5
25 – 29 25.7 22.8 28.8
30 – 34 21 21.8 20.3
35 – 39 15.1 14.7 15.6
40 – 44 11.8 13.2 10.3
45 and over 16.4 20.8 11.6

Again the 25-44 years old age groups form the bulk of the Filipino overseas workers.

The Villar infomercials invariably talk about the promise of employment and livelihood, and support for the overseas workers.  The Aquino infomercials do not or have not.

°         Aquino the preference of the 18-24 years old

These young voters were born during the Cory presidency, and were 9-15 years old when Arroyo took over the Presidency and saw both economic growth, and increase in poverty and many other (negative) developments.  I wonder if they were able to relate to the Cory magic and/or find the anti-corruption message more important than the offer of jobs and support at this time.

Undecided

The percentages in the older age groups 35 years old and more are still significant (Table 2).  The infomercials of the two leading candidates, nor of the rest, have not shown all the qualities that the voters are looking for in a candidate.  The qualities looked mutually exclusive: one as not corrupt and one providing jobs, support and experience.  Certainly that is not the case.

Note

It is only the start of the campaign period.  What we saw were infomercials or marketing plugs; not campaign commercials as COMELEC would like to interpret.  Now for the next 88 days the chaff will be hopefully winnowed from the grain.

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Pulse Asia: Preferences for Presidentiables January 2010 Update

August to December 2009, January 2010 Surveys

Aug 09 Oct 09 Aug-Oct Dec 09 Oct-Dec Jan 10 Dec-Jan
Aquino 44 +44 45 +1 37 -8
Villar 25 19 -6 23 +4 35 +12
Estrada 19 11 -8 19 +8 12 -7
Teodoro 0.2 2 +1.8 5 +3 5 0
De Castro 16 4 -12
Escudero 12 13 +1

Pulse Asia has an interesting table on reasons for presidential preference.  The respondent is asked  ‘Bakit po ninyo iboboto si _____ bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas?’ The findings from the following table may be referenced with the above summary.

Reasons for preference May 09 Aug 09 Oct 09 Dec 09 PossibleLink* Jan 10
1. Tumutulong, matulungin sa ofw/ibang sector [AID/ASSISTANCE] 6.6 11.8 12 11 Villar, Estrada 11
2. May nagawa, maraming nagawa [ACCOMPLISHMENTS] 11.6 25.3 14 11 Villar, Estrada 16
2a. Magaling/maganda ang palakad, [GOVERNANCE/EXPERIENCE] 4 8 Villar, Estrada 6
3. Hindi corrupt, walang kurakot, malinis [NOT CORRUPT] 7.1 6.3 21.2 21 Aquino 24
4. Mabait, mabuti, reputasyon ng pamilya [GOOD MAN/FAMILY] 5.6 3.7 4.2 12 Aquino 9
5. Makamasa, pagtingin sa mahirap, galling sa hirap [PRO-POOR] 27.3 20.3 12.2 27 Estrada, Villar 24

* Conjectural

It appears that #3 and #4 are still responsible for Aquino to remain on top/statistical tie for the lead.  His infomercials capitalized on these; although the percentage of ‘coming from a good family’ has slightly decreased.  It appears that these are his core votes, some 33 percent, over the past two months.

I noted earlier that probably some respondents also perceive Aquino as having traits #2, 2a and 5 and that this has to be developed further.

Apparently his campaign has not developed these and so far, as of the January survey, has failed to show his accomplishments, experience and being pro-poor.  It appears that some of his shares attributed to these factors have gone to Villar.

Villar appears to have similarly gotten chunks of the shares of Estrada, who is on a pro-poor [#5], ‘been-there-done-that’ [#2, #2a] platform.

By and large, people ascribe Villar’s surge in the polls to his tremendous ad spending, as the nearly ubiquitous TV and radio ads touting his humble background, his empathy with the poor and his promise to do for the rest of the country what he managed to do for himself and family, attest.  This is borne out in the latest advertising spend study conducted by Nielsen.

Villar ranked No. 14 among the Top 20 national advertisers (in print and broadcast) tracked by Nielsen during the period October-December 2009.  Villar was the only individual on the list, dominated by marketers of consumer products, and he outranked (and therefore outspent) even top advertisers like Monde Nissin Corp. (makers of biscuits), Herbs and Nature Corp. (which manufactures toiletry products), Mead Johnson (infant formula), Kraft Food (dairy products), Asia Brewery and San Miguel Brewery (both beer marketers).

In those three months alone, Villar spent P543 million, a far cry from the P83 million he spent in the previous year.  The amount represents an increase of 551 percent in ad spending, the highest increase among the Top 20 advertisers. http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100204-251283

Aquino campaign manager Florencio “Butch” Abad said he saw another Nielsen report showing that Villar spent P70 million from January 22 to 24 while the Aquino camp spent only P8 million. http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100203-251140

Indeed, Villar has the more effective, strategic and heavily-resourced marketing campaign.   Check it out, – a vote for a Villar presidency, classified among the ranks of consumer perishables.

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