Impact of superstitious beliefs on the timing of marriage and childbirth: Evidence from Denmark
We study the influence of numerological superstitions on family-related choices made by people in Denmark. Using daily data on marriages and births in Denmark in 2007-2019 we test hypotheses associated with positive perception of numbers 7 and 9 and a negative perception of number 13, as well as the impact of February, 29, April 1, St. Valentine's Day and Halloween. There is significant negative effect of the 13th on the popularity of both wedding and birth dates. However, some other effects associated with special dates and the cultural representations of unofficial holidays have a stronger effect. In addition, after controlling for many factors, February 29 and April 1 turn out to be desirable for weddings, but not for childbirth, implying the context dependence of cultural stereotypes. Evidence of birth scheduling for non-medical reasons is especially worrisome because of the associated adverse health outcomes associated with elective caesarian sections and inductions.