Joshua Gans and I have been writing recently about a bunch of different things that affect the timing of births and deaths. The Millennium, weekends and inauspicious days, the abolition of inheritance taxes, and the introduction of a $3000 baby bonus are all things that matter. But here’s one that doesn’t.
Does the Lunar Cycle Affect Birth and Deaths?
Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh
There is a commonplace notion that full moons affect natality and mortality. To test this theory, we obtain daily births and deaths data from Australia, covering all 10,592 days from 1 January 1975 to 31 December 2003. We find that full moons are not associated with any significant change in the number of conceptions, births, or deaths. Moreover, our standard errors are sufficiently tight to make it possible to rule out even modest positive or negative effects of the lunar cycle.
Small point, small paper (it’s not much longer than a typical newspaper op-ed).