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There is a tradition in the British Isles whereby a woman can propose to a man on the leap day – being February 29th. If the man so refuses the woman’s request it is customary for him to offer a gift to “soften the blow” of rejection. This gift eventually became a silk dress.

To calculate the economic benefits of a leap year some assumptions must be made.

In 2002 there were 6 million women in England and Wales who had never married. Assuming that the divorce rate for the 10 years between 2002 and 2012 remained relatively steady at 200,000 then that’s an extra 2 million added to the pond of singledom. Single being not married. That’s 8 million for which to provide an economic stimulus.

Assume that all 8 million women proposition 8 million men and all 8 million men graciously decline then sales of silk dresses will go through the roof! An all silk dress (based on a Google shopping search) ranges between £70 and £2500 in cost. At a best scenario outcome, that’s an injection of £2bn. At worst scenario outcome (still on the assumption that all take part) will be an injection of £56 million. The average cost of a silk dress will be £1285 or an injection of £1bn.

In all likelihood only a few thousand will take up this lucrative offer implying a modest estimation of £6.4 million injection (based on 5000 women proposing and being rejected).

However, on the flip side (assuming that all 8 million women’s proposals are accepted) there will be lots of weddings. The average cost of a wedding (in 2011) was £15000. That’s a £12bn injection into the economy.

But, modest estimations must be made as one can’t seriously expect all 8 million women to act in such a way. Therefore, for a modest estimate of women’s proposals being accepted, there will be a  £75 million injection (based on 5000 women proposing and being accepted).

On February 29th, for the good of the economy, get down on one knee and propose. Here’s one man who’s hoping you will: http://www.andrew29th.com/

EDIT: As the 29th February is an additional day, if one is salaried one technically works for free.