Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Publication Title

PARE

ISSN

1531-7714

Volume

23

Issue

13

Abstract

This computer simulation study evaluates the robustness of the nonparametric Levene test of equal variances (Nordstokke & Zumbo, 2010) when sampling from populations with unequal (and unknown) means. Testing for population mean differences when population variances are unknown and possibly unequal is often referred to as the Behrens-Fisher problem when the populations are normally distributed, and the generalized Behrens-Fisher problem when the populations are non-normal. The nonparametric Levene test was developed to overcome reductions in power of the original Levene test of equal variances in the case of the generalized Behrens-Fisher problem. We use a Monte Carlo computer simulation to demonstrate that sampling from populations with unequal and unknown means can lead to incorrect (either inflated or decreased) Type I error rates of the nonparametric Levene test. Centering samples using ei ther sample means or medians does not correct the Type I error rates. This note is intended to make applied researchers aware of this problem when testing for the equality of population variances with the NPL test and in general.

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