What is a table in Economics?

What is a table in Economics?

A table is the systematic arrangement of data (information) in rows and columns aimed at presenting large quantity of data in a condensed pattern making it easy for further findings to take place.

What are data?

Data are raw information collected from the field which are not yet organised or processed. It may be grouped data or ungrouped data. The singular of data is datum. Tables 2.1 and 2.2 are examples of grouped data.
tables serve as the most commonly used tools in Economics for economic analysis.

In tables, data are systematically arranged in columns and rows. Quantitative information involved in Economics can easily be summarized in a tabular form for quick understanding and to make comparison of figures easy. Peoples reaction about changes in the prices of goods and services can be observed by an Economist and illustrated in form of tables. For instance, let us observe the consumers reaction to increase and decrease in the price of rice in the market.
Price per bag of rice and quantity of bags of rice demanded at various prices are as follows:
N150 10 bags, N140 20 bags; N130 30 bags; N120 40 bags; N110 50 bags, N100 60 bags, N90 70 bags, N80 80bags; N70 90 bags. The above figures will be easier to understand and will look neater if put in tabular form as below:-

Table 1:  Showing the Market Demand for Bags of Rice. 

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Price per bag of rice
Quantity of bags of rice demanded

N150
10 bags of rice

N140
20 bags of rice

N130
30

N120
40 “

N110
50

N100
60

N90
70

N80
80 “

N70
90

From the above table, we can observe at a glance the total market demand schedule for bags of rice. The table shows that the quantity demanded went in opposite direction with price. It is therefore easier to interpret information contained in a table. Let us take another example, this time a hypothetical look at the rate of motor accidents that occurred in two states in Nigeria – Lagos and Ogun in the year 1989.
Motor accidents that occurred in Lagos and Ogun States in 1989 were as follows:
Lagos State – January 600, February 500, March 450, April 400, May 380. June 400, July 420, August 480, September 490, October 560, November 590 and December 660. Ogun State – January 500, February 450. March 430, April 380, May 340, June 300, July 330, August 350, September 380, October 420, November 480 and December 550.
The above information will be neater and easier to understand if put in tabular form as below:

TABLE 2.2: MOTOR ACCIDENTS THAT OCCURRED IN LAGOS AND OGUN STATES IN THE YEAR 1989

Month
Lagos
Ogun

January
600
500

February
500
450

March
450
430

April
400
380

May
380
340

June
400
300

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July
420
330

August
480
350

September
490
380

October
560
420

November
590
480

December
660
550

The above table makes comparison of the rate of motor accidents in the two states in 1989 very easy. One can easily see at a glance the number of motor accidents that occurred in the two states and then compare them without much efforts.

Example of Ungrouped Data
The data below represents the scores of twenty students in a mathematics test.
30, 60, 30, 80, 40, 70, 35, 10, 50, 75, 45, 15, 45, 60, 60, 10, 20, 62, 40, 15

Some of the are the guidelines for constructing a table.

1. The purpose of constructing the table must be understood.
2. The table must be given a clear heading.
3. The table should be simple.
4. The tables should be numbered if they are many.
5. The table should contain only the essential information.
6. The source of the data if known should be stated.
7. The units of measurement used in the table should be stated.
8. The sub-headings for the columns and rows used should be clearly stated.

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