Benford's Law and Numerical Stylization of Monetary Valuations in Ancient Literature
11 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 22, 2014
Numbers recorded in Greek and Roman sources are subject to literary stylization. Previous studies have documented substantial degrees of distortion in thematically specific samples. This study offers the first-ever comprehensive survey of references to amounts of money in literary sources pertaining to Roman history up to the early third century AD. This analysis compares the attested distribution of first digits to the probability distribution predicted by Benford’s Law in order to identify deviations that may be attributed to number preference and rhetorical stylization.
Keywords: Benford's Law, Number preference, Digit preference
JEL Classification: N10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation