Superstition and Trading

As readers of this CLAHRC WM News Blog know, the CLAHRC WM Director is a fan of the Enlightenment, and he was amused by a recent paper by Bhattacharya et al.,[1] which is a vindication of Enlightenment values. They were interested in whether superstition adversely affects human welfare by looking at trading in the Taiwan Futures Exchange. In Mandarin, pronunciation of the number “8” is similar to the word meaning “prosper” or “wealth”, while the number “4” is pronounced similarly to “death”. The authors defined a “superstition index” for individual traders based on the proportion of prices ending in these numbers and found a significant association between numerical superstition and poorer investment performance.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Bhattacharya U, KuoW-Y, Lin T-C, Zhao J. Do Superstitious Traders Lose Money? Soc Sci Res Network. [Online]

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