IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ebl/ecbull/eb-14-00694.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Benford's law for audit of public works: an analysis of overpricing in Maracanã soccer arena's renovation

Author

Listed:
  • Flavia C. Rodrigues da Cunha

    () (Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts)

  • Mauricio S. Bugarin

    () (University of Brasilia)

Abstract

Auditing of public works is a time consuming task because budget worksheets are often long and difficult to analyze. The present work illustrates the application of Newcomb-Benford Law (NB Law) to detecting overpricing in worksheets of public works. That law suggests that the frequency of the first digit in a multitude of non-manipulated numerical databases is decreasing from digit 1 to digit 9. The paper describes the relevant statistical tests of NB Law and applies these tests to the work of Brazil's Maracanã Soccer arena renovation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Next, it compares NB Law's results with those obtained with the analysis of prices conducted by the Brazilian Court of Accounts (TCU). The tests identified 17 items in the worksheet that did not comply with the Law and corresponded to 71.54% of the total overpricing uncovered by TCU.

Suggested Citation

  • Flavia C. Rodrigues da Cunha & Mauricio S. Bugarin, 2015. "Benford's law for audit of public works: an analysis of overpricing in Maracanã soccer arena's renovation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(2), pages 1168-1176.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-14-00694
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2015/Volume35/EB-15-V35-I2-P120.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Sartori Cella & Ercilio Zanolla, 2018. "Benford’s Law and transparency: an analysis of municipal expenditure," Brazilian Business Review, Fucape Business School, vol. 15(4), pages 331-347, July.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. T. A. Mir, 2016. "The leading digit distribution of the worldwide illicit financial flows," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 271-281, January.
    2. Timothy C. Irwin, 2015. "Defining The Government'S Debt And Deficit," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 711-732, September.
    3. Ausloos, Marcel & Cerqueti, Roy & Mir, Tariq A., 2017. "Data science for assessing possible tax income manipulation: The case of Italy," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 238-256.
    4. Samà, Danilo, 2014. "Cartel Detection and Collusion Screening: An Empirical Analysis of the London Metal Exchange," MPRA Paper 55363, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ausloos, Marcel & Castellano, Rosella & Cerqueti, Roy, 2016. "Regularities and discrepancies of credit default swaps: a data science approach through Benford's law," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 8-17.
    6. Antonakakis, Nikolaos & Collins, Alan, 2014. "The impact of fiscal austerity on suicide: On the empirics of a modern Greek tragedy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 39-50.
    7. Rabeea Sadaf, 2017. "Advanced Statistical Techniques For Testing Benford'S Law," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 229-238, December.
    8. Natasa Omerzu & Iztok Kolar, 2019. "Do the Financial Statements of Listed Companies on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange Pass the Benford’s Law Test?," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 12(1), pages 54-64, January.
    9. Ausloos, M. & Herteliu, C. & Ileanu, B., 2015. "Breakdown of Benford’s law for birth data," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 419(C), pages 736-745.
    10. Donna, Javier & Espin-Sanchez, Jose, 2014. "Complements and Substitutes in Sequential Auctions: The Case of Water Auctions," MPRA Paper 55079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Vadim S. Balashov & Yuxing Yan & Xiaodi Zhu, 2020. "Who Manipulates Data During Pandemics? Evidence from Newcomb-Benford Law," Papers 2007.14841, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2021.
    12. Stenfors, Alexis, 2018. "Bid-ask spread determination in the FX swap market: Competition, collusion or a convention?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 78-97.
    13. Samà, Danilo, 2014. "Essays on economic analysis of competition law: theory and practice," MPRA Paper 103118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Clippe, Paulette & Ausloos, Marcel, 2012. "Benford’s law and Theil transform of financial data," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 391(24), pages 6556-6567.
    15. Miranda-Zanetti, Maximilano & Delbianco, Fernando & Tohmé, Fernando, 2019. "Tampering with inflation data: A Benford law-based analysis of national statistics in Argentina," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 525(C), pages 761-770.
    16. Florian El Mouaaouy & Jan Riepe, 2018. "Benford and the Internal Capital Market: A Useful Indicator of Managerial Engagement," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 19(3), pages 309-329, August.
    17. Holz, Carsten A., 2014. "The quality of China's GDP statistics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 309-338.
    18. Montag, Josef, 2017. "Identifying odometer fraud in used car market data," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 10-23.
    19. Wójcik, Michał Ryszard, 2014. "A characterization of Benford’s law through generalized scale-invariance," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 1-5.
    20. Marcel Ausloos & Rosella Castellano & Roy Cerqueti, 2016. "Regularities and Discrepancies of Credit Default Swaps: a Data Science approach through Benford's Law," Papers 1603.01103, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Audit. Public works. Newcomb-Benford's law. Overpricing.;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-14-00694. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John P. Conley). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.