An empirical non-parametric likelihood family of data-based Benford-like distributions
A mathematical expression known as Benford's law provides an example of an unexpected relationship among randomly selected sequences of first significant digits (FSDs). Newcomb [Note on the frequency of use of the different digits in natural numbers, Am. J. Math. 4 (1881) 39–40], and later Benford [The law of anomalous numbers, Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 78(4) (1938) 551–572], conjectured that FSDs would exhibit a weakly monotonic decreasing distribution and proposed a frequency proportional to the logarithmic rule. Unfortunately, the Benford FSD function does not hold for a wide range of scale-invariant multiplicative data. To confront this problem we use information-theoretic methods to develop a data-based family of alternative Benford-like exponential distributions that provide null hypotheses for testing purposes. Two data sets are used to illustrate the performance of generalized Benford-like distributions.
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Volume (Year): 380 (2007)
Issue (Month): C ()
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- 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.
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- Scott Marchi & James Hamilton, 2006. "Assessing the Accuracy of Self-Reported Data: an Evaluation of the Toxics Release Inventory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 57-76, January.
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