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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 and Fraud in Economic Research

Benfordʼs Law and Fraud in Economic Research

(p.244) Chapter Twelve Benfordʼs Law and Fraud in Economic Research
Benford's Law

Karl-Heinz Tödter

Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews applications of Benford's law to uncover fraud in macroeconomic data, forecasts, and econometric regression results, as Benford's law provides tools for checking reliability and detecting fraud in science and academia. Scientific misconduct appears in various forms: fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. Replication is considered the prime strategy against scientific misconduct, but it is seldom performed in empirical economics. Regardless, the potential of Benford's law to enhance the efficiency of replication as a strategy against fraud in published research is discussed in this chapter. In addition, the chapter remarks that routine applications of Benford tests could uncover data anomalies and provide valuable hints of irregularities in empirical economics research.

Keywords:   fraud, empirical economics research, scientific misconduct, Benford test, replication, empirical economics, macroeconomic data, forecasts, econometric regression

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