Friday, February 13, 2009

fewer accidents on Friday the 13th

Digging back into my files, here's a relevant piece for today from in Australia...

I've always thought superstitions were funny. To an economist, they reduce to a "taste and preference". And then getting more objective, tastes and preferences related to the supernatural-- a personal discrimination against the number 13.

The other connection to Econ: If people believe that 13 is a problem-- or believe that other people think 13 is a problem-- then the market may adjust in interesting ways. The obvious application is the absence of 13th floors in buildings, even among building owners who don't possess those odd religious beliefs. The results in the article below point to the same sort of adjustments.

Or getting away from econ lingo, they are strange religious beliefs. I wonder if those who laugh at Christianity eagerly embrace superstititions?

The other connection of interest to me: in the Bible, idolatry and false gods are described as having power-- apparently, insofar as they are given power by their adherents. In other words, if I believe that walking under a ladder will cause trouble, I can allow it to cause trouble for me.

UNLUCKY for some? Dutch statisticians have established that Friday 13th, a date regarded in many countries as inauspicious, is actually safer than an average Friday.

A study published today by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) showed that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays....

In the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7800 traffic accidents each Friday, the CVS study said.

But the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7500.

There were also fewer incidents of fire and theft, although the average value of losses on Fridays 13th was slightly higher.


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