Gizat Makhanov

Data Management and Visualization Course

20 Sep 2015 - Astana

Prologue

I have recently started a four-week online course on managing, describing and visualizing data. The main purpose is to learn to use data and to engage in quantitative research. We will choose a research question, describe variables and their relationships through frequency tables, calculate statistics of center and spread, and create graphical representations. As a data manager I find these activities to be a fun way to show people how data creates meaningful information.

Week 1

Identify two topics and develop a hypothesis about the possible associations between these topics.

Step 1. Are oil prices associated with life satisfaction in oil exporting country?

Step 2. Life is short and in I think one must spend it with better quality. I am particularly interested in what makes a quality life and how we can control and measure life satisfaction. It is not a single number, but a combination of multiple indicators like health, wealth, education, etc. I will use Gapminder to extract data with those indicators. As it is a big topic, I will constraint myself to researching the situation in Kazakhstan. I am not sure what specific variables I will use to identify the level of life satisfaction of a group of people. I will however include possible variables and sources in my codebook (see the next step).

Step 3. My codebook with Gapminder variables:

Variable Name Description of indicator Main source
incomeperperson Gross Domestic Product per capita. World Bank Work Development Indicators, The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics
employrate Percentage of total population, age above 15, that has been employed during the given period. International Labour Organization, The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics
suicideper100TH Mortality due to self-inflicted injury, per 100 000 standard population, age adjusted WHO Violence and Injury Prevention (VIP) and WHO Global Burden of Disease, The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics
children out of school, primary The number of primary-school-age children not enrolled in primary or secondary school World Bank, The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics
poverty Poverty headcount ratio at rural poverty line (% of rural population) World Bank, The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics
homicide Intentional killing of a person, including murder, manslaughter, euthanasia and infanticide. The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics
democracy score Overall polity score from the Polity IV dataset, calculated by subtracting an autocracy score from a democracy score. It is a summary measure of a country's democratic and free nature. Polity IV Project

Step 4. The general quality of life of a population sadly depends on the economy of the country, where they reside. My second topic covers oil prices and oil export volumes in Kazakhstan. I will take relevant data from NASDAQ, Bloomberg and other authoritative sources. I have included possible variables in my codebook (see the next step).

Step 5. My updated codebook with oil variables:

Variable Name Description of indicator Main source
oil prices Prices of oil in the World NASDAQ, Bloomberg
national budget Percentage of income to budget from exporting natural resources The Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics

Step 6. I have found that several researches had been previously conducted on this topic. According to abstracts of these researches (full access cost money), oil prices negatively affect the quality of life.

According to these researches, life satisfaction consists of several factors. The basic model for identifying life satisfaction includes such factors as personal income, unemployment rate, marital status, democracy, etc. These factors further either positively or negatively affect life satisfaction of a population. As most of these factors are related to economical well-being of a country and as Kazakhstan’s GDP is largely based on oil exports, we can state that oil prices affect life satisfaction. This will help us forecast the general mood of population in Kazakhstan by looking at oil prices.

Step 7. Hypothesis: Oil prices negatively affect life satisfaction in Kazakhstan. I believe that oil prices impact income, employment rate, suicide rate, number of children in school, poverty level, homicide and democracy score in Kazakhstan.