Superstition and farmers’ life insurance spending

Yun Liu, Yifei Zhang*, Xin Chen, Yuxin Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Superstition is prevalent in rural areas, yet very few studies examine whether it affects rural households’ economic decisions. In this paper, we investigate the impact of “zodiac year” superstition on Chinese rural households’ life insurance spending. We find a statistically significant 18.5% increase in life insurance expenditure during the head's zodiac year. Such a boost is only significant in the zodiac year and does not exist in non-zodiac years. Our study provides novel evidence that rural households would hedge “bad luck” by self-insurance when bearing superstitious beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109975
Number of pages3
JournalEconomics Letters
Early online date5 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Insurance
  • Rural household
  • Superstition

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