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Benford's LawTheory and Applications$
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Steven J. Miller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147611

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147611.001.0001

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Benfordʼs Law Geometry

Benfordʼs Law Geometry

(p.109) Chapter Four Benfordʼs Law Geometry
Benford's Law

Lawrence Leemis

Princeton University Press

This chapter switches from the traditional analysis of Benford's law using data sets to a search for probability distributions that obey Benford's law. It begins by briefly discussing the origins of Benford's law through the independent efforts of Simon Newcomb (1835–1909) and Frank Benford, Jr. (1883–1948), both of whom made their discoveries through empirical data. Although Benford's law applies to a wide variety of data sets, none of the popular parametric distributions, such as the exponential and normal distributions, agree exactly with Benford's law. The chapter thus highlights the failures of several of these well-known probability distributions in conforming to Benford's law, considers what types of probability distributions might produce data that obey Benford's law, and looks at some of the geometry associated with these probability distributions.

Keywords:   Benford's law geometry, Simon Newcomb, Frank Benford, parametric distributions, probability distributions, geometry

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