‘Friday the 13th: The Empirics of Bad Luck’ (study)

Bearing in mind that today is Friday the 13th, what better time to examine the question of whether the socio-economic outcomes of people born on the 13th day of the month, and of those born on Friday the 13th, differ from the outcomes of people born on more auspicious days? Investigators Dr. Jan Fidrmuc and Dr. Juan De Dios Tena Horrillo have performed one of the only large-scale studies which has attempted to find out.

“We investigate the issue at hand using the UK Labor Force Survey (LFS), a quarterly nationally-representative survey of households across the UK. Each quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) interviews approximately 60 thousand households, with over 100 thousand individual respondents aged 16 and above. We use data from 1999 to 2011, which gives us around 3.9 million observations.”


The answer? Those born on the 13th, or on a Friday the 13th, “need not lose much sleep over the inauspicious circumstances of their birth” :

“We find little evidence that being born on either the 13th or on Friday the 13th is associated with dramatically worse outcomes in the labor or marriage markets. Our results indicate a small increase in the probability that men born on the 13th are employed and a small fall in the probability that they remain single (we leave it up to the reader to decide whether staying single is good or bad luck).”

The paper can be read here, in full, ‘Friday the 13th: The Empirics of Bad Luck’ (in: Kyklos, Volume 68, Issue 3, pages 317–334, August 2015)