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Cerasa, A (2022)

Testing for Benford’s Law in very small samples: Simulation study and a new test proposal

PLoS ONE 17(7), pp. e0271969.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271969

Abstract: Benford’s Law defines a statistical distribution for the first and higher order digits in many datasets. Under very general condition, numbers are expected to naturally conform to the theorized digits pattern. On the other side, any deviation from the Benford distribution could identify an exogenous modification of the expected pattern, due to data manipulation or even fraud. Many statistical tests are available for assessing the Benford conformity of a sample. However, in some practical applications, the limited number of data to analyze may raise questions concerning their reliability. The first aim of this article is then to analyze and compare the behavior of Benford conformity testing procedures applied to very small samples through an extensive Monte Carlo experiment. Simulations will consider a thorough choice of compliance tests and a very heterogeneous selection of alternative distributions. Secondly, we will use the simulation results for defining a new testing procedure, based on the combination of three tests, that guarantees suitable levels of power in each alternative scenario. Finally, a practical application is provided, demonstrating how a sounding testing Benford compliance test for very small samples is important and profitable in anti-fraud investigations.

@article{, author = {Andrea Cerasa}, title = {Testing for Benford’s Law in very small samples: Simulation study and a new test proposal}, year = {2022}, journal = {PLoS ONE}, volume = {17}, number = {7}, pages = {e0271969}, doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0271969}, url = {}, }

Reference Type: Journal Article

Subject Area(s): Statistics