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The law of the leading digits and the world religions

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  • Mir, T.A.

Abstract

Benford’s law states that the occurrence of significant digits in many data sets is not uniform but tends to follow a logarithmic distribution such that the smaller digits appear as first significant digits more frequently than the larger ones. We investigate here numerical data on the country-wise adherent distribution of seven major world religions i.e. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Baha’ism to see if the proportion of the leading digits occurring in the distribution conforms to Benford’s law. We find that the adherent data of all the religions, except Christianity, excellently does conform to Benford’s law. Furthermore, unlike the adherent data on Christianity, the significant digit distribution of the three major Christian denominations i.e. Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy obeys the law. Thus in spite of their complexity general laws can be established for the evolution of religious groups.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:391:y:2012:i:3:p:792-798
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2011.09.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    6. repec:cai:poeine:pope_204_0753 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Bogdan Vasile Ileanu & Marcel Ausloos & Claudiu Herteliu & Marian Pompiliu Cristescu, 2019. "Intriguing behavior when testing the impact of quotation marks usage in Google search results," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 53(5), pages 2507-2519, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Bormashenko, Ed. & Shulzinger, E. & Whyman, G. & Bormashenko, Ye., 2016. "Benford’s law, its applicability and breakdown in the IR spectra of polymers," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 444(C), pages 524-529.
    7. Whyman, G. & Ohtori, N. & Shulzinger, E. & Bormashenko, Ed., 2016. "Revisiting the Benford law: When the Benford-like distribution of leading digits in sets of numerical data is expectable?," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 461(C), pages 595-601.
    8. 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.
    9. McCartney, Mark & Glass, David H., 2015. "A three-state dynamical model for religious affiliation," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 419(C), pages 145-152.
    10. Kundt, Thorben, 2014. "Applying “Benford’s law” to the Crosswise Model: Findings from an online survey on tax evasion," Working Paper 148/2014, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    11. Lee, Kang-Bok & Han, Sumin & Jeong, Yeasung, 2020. "COVID-19, flattening the curve, and Benford’s law," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 559(C).
    12. Cerqueti, Roy & Maggi, Mario, 2021. "Data validity and statistical conformity with Benford’s Law," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    13. 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.
    14. T. 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.
    15. Tariq Ahmad Mir & Marcel Ausloos & Roy Cerqueti, 2014. "Benford's law predicted digit distribution of aggregated income taxes: the surprising conformity of Italian cities and regions," Papers 1410.2890, arXiv.org.
    16. Azevedo, Caio da Silva & Gonçalves, Rodrigo Franco & Gava, Vagner Luiz & Spinola, Mauro de Mesquita, 2021. "A Benford’s Law based methodology for fraud detection in social welfare programs: Bolsa Familia analysis," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 567(C).
    17. 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.
    18. Riccioni, Jessica & Cerqueti, Roy, 2018. "Regular paths in financial markets: Investigating the Benford's law," Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 186-194.
    19. Ausloos, Marcel & Cerqueti, Roy & Lupi, Claudio, 2017. "Long-range properties and data validity for hydrogeological time series: The case of the Paglia river," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 470(C), pages 39-50.
    20. 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.

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