Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Value of Superstitions

Ng, Travis and Chong, Terence and Xin, Du (2009): The Value of Superstitions.

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This paper estimates the value of superstitions by studying the auctions of vehicle license plates. We show that the value of superstitions is economically significant, which in turn justifies their persistence in human civilization. We also show that such a value, though based inherently on irrational beliefs, would respond to changes in a manner consistent with economic intuition. In addition, the paper contributes to the recently-heated debate on whether recessions draw people to churches; our results are consistent with people being more superstitious in bad times.

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