Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/207115
Authors: 
Halla, Martin
Liu, Chia-Lun
Liu, Jin-tan
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
Working Paper No. 1901
Abstract: 
Superstition is a widespread phenomenon. We empirically examine its impact on health-related behavior and health outcomes. We study the case of the Taiwanese Ghost month. During this period, which is believed to increase the likelihood of bad outcomes, we observe substantial adaptions in health-related behavior. Our identification exploits idiosyncratic variation in the timing of the Ghost Month across Gregorian calendar years. Using high-quality administrative data, we document for the period of the Ghost Months reductions in mortality, hospital admissions, and births. While the effect on mortality is a quantum effect, the latter two effects reflect changes in the timing of events. Efficient public health policy should account for emotional and cultural factors.
Subjects: 
Superstition
false beliefs
health
risky activities
health-care utilization
mortality
fertility
birth outcomes
JEL: 
I12
D83
D91
Z12
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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