More or Less: Behind the Stats

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. A half-hour programme broadcast at 1600 on Friday afternoons and repeated at 2000 on Sundays on Radio 4. BBC World Service broadcasts a short edition over the weekend.

  • Updated:
    Weekly
  • Episodes available:
    Indefinitely help

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Recent episodes (10)

  • WS Xenophobia in South Africa 24 Apr 15

    Sat, 25 Apr 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Are migrants ‘stealing’ jobs; does South Africa have more asylum seekers than any other country in the world? These are some of the claims we explore this week in the midst of some of the worst xenophobic attacks in recent years in South Africa. Plus – could you go to jail for reporting false statistics? You might in Tanzania where they are in the process of bringing in a law to tackle publishing bad figures. We ask whether journalists and researchers should be worried. This edition of More or Less was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • UK Election Podcast 3 24 Apr 15

    Fri, 24 Apr 15

    Duration:
    17 mins

    Are we witnessing a jobs ‘miracle’? Also under scrutiny - Scotland’s deficit; a mansion tax; and what would a Miliband-SNP pact cost us? The podcast features a collection of interviews from Radio 4's PM programme.

    Download 8MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • WS Liver Transplant. 17 Apr 15

    Sat, 18 Apr 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    A young listener who needs a liver transplant has received an offer from his brother to act as a living donor. What are the statistics on survival? Plus, is it true that a child goes missing every 90 seconds in the USA? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • UK election podcast 2 17 Apr 15

    Fri, 17 Apr 15

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Fact-checking the politicians during the election campaign on NHS funding; rail fares and the railways; public spending; debt and the deficit; the Right-to-Buy; and education. The podcast features a collection of interviews from Radio 4's PM programme.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • UK election podcast 1

    Mon, 13 Apr 15

    Duration:
    33 mins

    Can you trust the figures given to you by the political parties during the UK's General Election campaign period? We examine and unpick the statistics so you can decide how useful they are. The podcast features a collection of interviews from Radio 4's PM programme. We look at zero hours contracts, non-dom tax status and the broader economy.

    Download 16MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • WS The Ignorance Test 10 Apr 15

    Sat, 11 Apr 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Professor Hans Rosling - perhaps best-described as a kind of international development myth buster - delivers his Ignorance Test. Hans asked presenter Ruth Alexander three questions from the test. Can you do any better? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • WS Maths and Chess 04 Apr 15

    Fri, 3 Apr 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Is it really true that ability in mathematics and chess are somehow linked? Tim Harford pits his wits against a math-professor-turned-professional-chess-player, John Nunn. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • WS How safe is flying? 28 Mar 15

    Sat, 28 Mar 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    The Germanwings A320 tragedy, in which 150 people died, is the latest in a series of fatal crashes over the past year. Are more planes crashing, or does it just seem that way? Plus: is the number of penalties Chelsea Football Club have been awarded in the Premier League this season "abnormally low" as they have claimed? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Does Breastfeeding Increase IQ? 21 Mar 15

    Sat, 21 Mar 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    A major 30-year study claims to show breastfed babies become more intelligent, higher earning adults. It's not the first time we've heard that breastfeeding raises IQ levels; but is this evidence any more convincing? Ruth Alexander and Hannah Moore explore the details with Dr Stuart Ritchie from The University of Edinburgh. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • WS Measuring World Health 14 Mar 15

    Sat, 14 Mar 15

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Babies born in Rwanda are likely to live healthier lives than those in the most deprived 10% of England, according to recent reports. But does the data back this up? And how is "good health" measured across the world? Hannah Moore and Wesley Stephenson explore the numbers with Professor David Gordon from Bristol University’s International Poverty Research Centre. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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