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Quaestiones Geographicae

The Journal of Adam Mickiewicz University

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Comparison of Values of Pearson's and Spearman's Correlation Coefficients on the Same Sets of Data

Jan Hauke
  • Institute of Socio-Economic Geography and Spatial Management, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
/ Tomasz Kossowski
  • Institute of Socio-Economic Geography and Spatial Management, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
Published Online: 2011-06-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10117-011-0021-1

Comparison of Values of Pearson's and Spearman's Correlation Coefficients on the Same Sets of Data

Spearman's rank correlation coefficient is a nonparametric (distribution-free) rank statistic proposed by Charles Spearman as a measure of the strength of an association between two variables. It is a measure of a monotone association that is used when the distribution of data makes Pearson's correlation coefficient undesirable or misleading. Spearman's coefficient is not a measure of the linear relationship between two variables, as some "statisticians" declare. It assesses how well an arbitrary monotonic function can describe a relationship between two variables, without making any assumptions about the frequency distribution of the variables. Unlike Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient, it does not require the assumption that the relationship between the variables is linear, nor does it require the variables to be measured on interval scales; it can be used for variables measured at the ordinal level. The idea of the paper is to compare the values of Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient and Spearman's rank correlation coefficient as well as their statistical significance for different sets of data (original - for Pearson's coefficient, and ranked data for Spearman's coefficient) describing regional indices of socio-economic development.

Keywords: Pearson's correlation coefficient; Spearman's rank correlation coefficient; Kendall's tau; regional indices of socio-economic development

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About the article

Published Online: 2011-06-24

Published in Print: 2011-06-01

Citation Information: Quaestiones Geographicae, ISSN (Print) 0137-477X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10117-011-0021-1.

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