In today’s world, calculating the “arithmetic mean” of a given data set is considered par for the course. But this wasn’t always the case. In this article, Priceonomics staff writer Dan Kopf offers a brief, but compelling overview of the history of how the mean ultimately triumphed over the “median” as the standard for finding “representative values.” In so doing, Kopf persuasively argues against overreliance upon the mean when analyzing data. getAbstract recommends this article to everyone interested in how to best analyze and showcase statistics.
In this summary, you will learn
- How the “arithmetic mean” and the “median” emerged as representative measurements,
- Why the mean became the “default” measurement, and
- Why using the mean, rather than the median, can prove problematic.
About the Author
Dan Kopf is a Priceonomics staff writer. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics.
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The Atlantic, 2017