Introduction to Business Statistics 7th Edition
Today’s statistics applications range from the inane to the highly germane. Sometimes statistics provides nothing more than entertainment—e.g., a study found that 31% of U.S. adults have regifted a present for the holidays.1 Regarding an actual entertainer, other studies found that the public’s “favorable” rating for actor Tom Cruise had dropped from 58% to 35% between 2005 and 2006.2
On the other hand, statistical descriptors can be highly relevant to such important matters as corporate ethics and employee privacy. For example, 5% of workers say they use the Internet too much at work, and that decreases their productivity.3 In the governmental area, U.S. census data can mean millions of dollars to big cities. According to the Los Angeles city council, that city will have lost over $180 million in federal aid because the 2000 census had allegedly missed 76,800 residents, most of whom were urban, minority, and poor.4
At a deadly extreme, statistics can also describe the growing toll on persons living near or downwind of Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. Just 10 years following this 1986 disaster, cancer rates in the fallout zone had already nearly doubled, and researchers are now concerned about the possibility of even higher rates with the greater passage of time.5 In general, statistics can be useful in examining any geographic “cluster” of disease incidence, helping us to decide whether the higher incidence could be due simply to chance variation, or whether some environmental agent or pollutant may have played a role.
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