POISSON VERSUS BINOMIAL: APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

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Summary

The problem of discriminating between the Poisson and binomial models is discussed in the context of a detailed statistical analysis of the number of appointments of the U.S. Supreme Court justices from 1789 to 2004. Various new and existing tests are examined. The analysis shows that both simple Poisson and simple binomial models are equally appropriate for describing the data. No firm statistical evidence in favour of an exponential Poisson regression model was found. Two attendant results were obtained by simulation: firstly, that the likelihood ratio test is the most powerful of those considered when testing for the Poisson versus binomial and, secondly, that the classical variance test with an upper-tail critical region is biased.

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