What is it about?

We ask why people play the lottery in syndicates. 1.- Is it for economic reasons, to maximize their chances of winning a prize? 2.- Or is it for social reasons, to cement social ties and interpersonal trust?

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Why is it important?

We study this with survey data from Spain and the United States. We show that people share lottery tickets primarily for social reasons.


I am fascinated by decisions that do not appear to be rational. Sharing lottery tickets with co-workers, friends or relatives is so in a twofold way: 1.- The expected value of a lottery ticket is negative. 2.- Sharing it further reduces the expected value due to agency problems and opportunism. Point 1 can usually be explained with economic approaches related to risk aversion. How do can we explain point 2?

Andrés Santana
Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Embedded Play: Economic and Social Motivations for Sharing Lottery Tickets, European Sociological Review, January 2011, Oxford University Press (OUP),
DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcq068.
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