Statistics, Innumeracy and Ethics

Noel Yahanpath
Cherrie Ward

Abstract: This paper examines the level of numeracy among samples of 25 respondents. The four samples are: a random over sixties non-student group; first-year arts and social science students; first-year diploma of business studies accounting stream students; and a second-year bachelor of business (BBS) studies accounting stream students. The study evaluates how each group responds to common statistical information found in investment situations or the market place. The evidence strongly indicates that BBS students are far superior in day-to-day decision-making situations that involve some degree of numeracy. Further the results of the paper suggest that there is an opportunity for marketers to exploit the innumerate general public by the unethical use of statistics.