Relation To The Chi-squared Test
The commonly used chi-squared tests for goodness of fit to a distribution and for independence in contingency tables are in fact approximations of the log-likelihood ratio on which the G-tests are based. The general formula for Pearson's chi-squared test statistic is
The approximation of G by chi squared is obtained by a second order Taylor expansion of the natural logarithm around 1. This approximation was developed by Karl Pearson because at the time it was unduly laborious to calculate log-likelihood ratios. With the advent of electronic calculators and personal computers, this is no longer a problem.
For samples of a reasonable size, the G-test and the chi-squared test will lead to the same conclusions. However, the approximation to the theoretical chi-squared distribution for the G-test is better than for the Pearson chi-squared tests. In cases where for some cell case the G-test is always better than the chi-squared test.
For testing goodness-of-fit the G-test is infinitely more efficient than the chi squared test in the sense of Bahadur, but the two tests are equally efficient in the sense of Pitman or in the sense of Hodge and Lehman.
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