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A check of Maddison’s gdp data. Benford’s Law with some range problems


  • Martin Paldam

    () (School of Economics and Management, Aarhus University, Denmark)


The paper studies if the Maddison set of data for GDP per capita follows a statistical regularity, known as Benford’s Law. It is a simple logarithmic relation on the frequency of the first digit in a data set. These data ought to follow the law as they are Maddison’s calibration of data compiled by many independent agencies and researches. The data set consists of 12,411 observations, permitting a rather strong test. On visual inspection the relation appears to fit rather well, but the law is rejected by a formal test. The explanation of the rejection is found to be that the range of the data is too small.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Paldam, 2010. "A check of Maddison’s gdp data. Benford’s Law with some range problems," Economics Working Papers 2010-18, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2010-18

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    More about this item


    National accounts; Benford’s Law;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • C16 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Econometric and Statistical Methods; Specific Distributions

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