When Does the Second-Digit Benford’s Law-Test Signal an Election Fraud? Facts or Misleading Test Results
Detecting 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.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 231 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (November)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Licher Straße 74, 35394 Gießen|
Phone: +49 (0)641 99 22 001
Fax: +49 (0)641 99 22 009
Web page: http://wiwi.uni-giessen.de/home/oekonometrie/Jahrbuecher/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Fewster, R. M., 2009. "A Simple Explanation of Benford's Law," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 63(1), pages 26-32.
- Andreas Diekmann, 2005.
"Not the First Digit! Using Benford’s Law to Detect Fraudulent Scientific Data,"
- Andreas Diekmann, 2007. "Not the First Digit! Using Benford's Law to Detect Fraudulent Scientif ic Data," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 321-329.
- Andreas Diekmann & Ben Jann, 2010.
"Benford's Law and Fraud Detection: Facts and Legends,"
German Economic Review,
Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 397-401, 08.
- Andreas Diekmann & Ben Jann, 2010. "Benford's Law and Fraud Detection. Facts and Legends," ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers 8, ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology.
- Katz, Jonathan N., 1997. "A Statistical Model for Multiparty Electoral Data," Working Papers 1005, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:231:y:2011:i:5-6:p:719-732. 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: (Peter Winker)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.