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Benford’s law and Theil transform of financial data

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  • Clippe, Paulette
  • Ausloos, Marcel

Abstract

Among econophysics investigations, studies of religious groups have been of interest. On the one hand, the present paper concerns the Antoinist community financial reports–a community which appeared at the end of the 19-th century in Belgium. Several growth–decay regimes have been previously found over different time spans. However, there is common suspicion about sect finances. In that spirit, the Antoinist community yearly financial reports, income and expenses, are hereby examined through the so-called Benford’s law. The latter is often used as a test about possible accounting wrongdoings. On the other hand, Benford’s law is known to be invariant under scale and base transformation. Therefore, as a further test, of both such data and the use of Benford’s law, the yearly financial reports are nonlinearly remapped through a sort of Theil transformation, i.e. based on a log-transformation. The resulting data is again analyzed along the Benford’s law scheme. Bizarre, puzzling, features are seen. However, it is emphasized that such a non-linear transformation can shift the argument toward a more objective conclusion. In an appendix, some brief discussion is made on why the original Theil mapping should not be used. In a second appendix, an imperfect Benford’s law-like form–better suited for anomalous distributions–is presented.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications.

Volume (Year): 391 (2012)
Issue (Month): 24 ()
Pages: 6556-6567

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Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:391:y:2012:i:24:p:6556-6567

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Web page: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/physica-a-statistical-mechpplications/

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Keywords: Income; Expenses; Religious community; Benford’s laws; Theil map; Time series;

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References

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  1. Miśkiewicz, Janusz, 2008. "Globalization — Entropy unification through the Theil index," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(26), pages 6595-6604.
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  3. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
  4. Janusz Miskiewicz & Marcel Ausloos, 2009. "Has the world economy reached its globalization limit?," Papers 0910.3695, arXiv.org.
  5. Ausloos, Marcel, 2012. "Econophysics of a religious cult: The Antoinists in Belgium [1920–2000]," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(11), pages 3190-3197.
  6. Pietronero, L. & Tosatti, E. & Tosatti, V. & Vespignani, A., 2001. "Explaining the uneven distribution of numbers in nature: the laws of Benford and Zipf," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 293(1), pages 297-304.
  7. Bernhard Rauch & Max Göttsche & Gernot Brähler & Stefan Engel, 2011. "Fact and Fiction in EU‐Governmental Economic Data," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(3), pages 243-255, 08.
  8. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1995. "Risk, Rationality, and Religious Portfolios," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 285-95, April.
  9. Dorogovtsev, S.N. & Mendes, J.F.F. & Oliveira, J.G., 2006. "Frequency of occurrence of numbers in the World Wide Web," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 360(2), pages 548-556.
  10. Mir, T.A., 2012. "The law of the leading digits and the world religions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(3), pages 792-798.
  11. Stauffer, Dietrich, 2004. "Introduction to statistical physics outside physics," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 336(1), pages 1-5.
  12. Miśkiewicz, Janusz & Ausloos, Marcel, 2008. "Correlation measure to detect time series distances, whence economy globalization," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(26), pages 6584-6594.
  13. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Mir, T.A., 2014. "The Benford law behavior of the religious activity data," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 408(C), pages 1-9.
  2. Salois, Matthew J., 2013. "Regional changes in the distribution of foreign aid: An entropy approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(13), pages 2893-2902.

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