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“Lucky” numbers, unlucky consumers

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  • Yang, Zili

Abstract

Superstitious beliefs affect economic activity and may have noticeable economic impacts. In China, numbers often convey certain superstitious meanings. Retailers in China manipulate digital patterns on price tags to fit consumers’ superstitious preferences. In this paper, I analyze such superstitious manipulations using a large sample of price tags from Beijing, China. I also estimate the aggregate economic impacts of superstitious manipulations of retail price tags. The analytical results and the estimations presented in this paper suggest that Chinese consumers pay extra for their superstitious beliefs when they purchase goods. Retailers are the clear winners in superstitious manipulations of digital patterns in price tags.

Suggested Citation

  • Yang, Zili, 2011. "“Lucky” numbers, unlucky consumers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 692-699.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:40:y:2011:i:5:p:692-699
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2011.05.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ng, Travis & Chong, Terence & Du, Xin, 2010. "The value of superstitions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 293-309, June.
    2. TerenceTai-Leung Chong & Xin Du, 2008. "Hedonic Pricing Models For Vehicle Registration Marks," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 259-276, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brad R. Humphreys & Adam Nowak & Yang Zhou, 2016. "Cultural Superstitions and Residential Real Estate Prices: Transaction-level Evidence from the US Housing Market," Working Papers 16-27, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    2. Irenaeus Wolff, 2017. "Lucky Numbers in Simple Games," TWI Research Paper Series 107, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    3. repec:oup:jconrs:v:43:y:2016:i:2:p:334-353. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Superstition; Retail price; Chinese economy; Consumer behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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