International Graduate Student Workshop Features LSU Economics Professor

H. Naci Mocan head shot

Naci Mocan  

June 18, 2018

BATON ROUGE – The Association for the Study of Religion, Economics and Culture (ASREC) selected Naci Mocan, a professor in the LSU Department of Economics, as a keynote speaker for the organization’s European graduate student workshop held at the University of Luxembourg.

ASREC Europe 2018 focused on the economics of religion, an emerging field that sheds light on the role of religion in numerous areas of economics including economic history, development, conflict, political economy, collective action, population trends, family dynamics, crime, beliefs and more. The graduate workshop, held June 5, was followed by a three-day conference.

The graduate workshop introduced a select group of students from various European universities, to the economics of culture and religion through a combination of formal instruction, conference sessions and Q&A sessions. The workshop’s networking opportunities allowed students to connect with established scholars.

During the graduate workshop, Mocan delivered lectures focusing on the success of Chinese children born in the Year of the Dragon and on the impact the quality of judicial institutions on individuals’ behavior.

Mocan’s ASREC conference lecture, titled “Can Superstition Create a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? School Outcomes of Dragon Children of China,” is based on his research, co-authored with Han Yu, a PhD candidate in economics at LSU. Their research examines the success of Chinese children born in the Year of the Dragon. Mocan and Yu analyzed the test scores of 15,000 Chinese secondary-school pupils and found that relative to their peers, Dragon children received better scores on both Chinese and English exams and are more likely to attend university than those born in other years. They argue this success is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy regarding the superiority of those born in the year of the Dagon, as parents tend to invest more time and money when educating Dragon children.

The Association for the Study of Religion, Economics and Culture exists to promote interdisciplinary scholarship on institutions, religion, and culture through conferences, workshops, newsletters, working papers, teaching and research. ASREC supports all manner of social-scientific methods, but seeks especially to stimulate work based on economic perspectives and the rational choice paradigm. For additional information, visit

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Contact: Angela McBride
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