When Does the Second-Digit Benford’s Law-Test Signal an Election Fraud? Facts or Misleading Test Results
AbstractDetecting election fraud with a simple statistical method and minimal information makes the application of Benford’s Law quite promising for a wide range of researchers. Whilst its specific form, the Second-Digit Benford’s Law (2BL)-test, is increasingly applied to fraud suspected elections, concerns about the validity of its test results have been raised. One important caveat of this kind of research is that the 2BL-test has been appliedmostly to fraud suspected elections. Therefore, this article will apply the test to the 2009 German Federal Parliamentary Election against which no serious allegation of fraud has been raised. Surprisingly, the test results indicate that there should be electoral fraud in a number of constituencies. These counterintuitive resultsmight be due to the naive application of the 2BL-test which is based on the conventional v2 distribution. If we use an alternative distribution based on simulated election data, the 2BLtest indicates no significant deviation. Using the simulated election data, we also identified under which circumstances the naive application of the 2BL-test is inappropriate. Accordingly, constituencies with homogeneous precincts and a specific range of vote counts tend to have a higher value for the 2BL statistic.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics.
Volume (Year): 231 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (November)
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More information through EDIRC
Election fraud; Benford’s Law; German federal election; simulation;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers
8, ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology.
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