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The lottery is cheap permission to dream about the possibility of a better life. Most players know they won't win.
People without lots of money are more likely to participate in lotteries. On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5 % of their income on state lotteries, making it a deeply regressive tax.
There is clearly a demand for playing the lottery. But low-income people spend more of their income on the lottery than other income groups.
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Human beings are not wired to grasp the concept of probability. A chance of winning a lottery, sometimes 1 in 175 million, is not something that bothers us.
The Lottery ti...
The steady appeal of the lottery is due to various psychological tricks by the marketers: suspension of logic and reason and the dreams that it sells.
Using the variable rewards concept of psychology, the marketers ensure that people keep buying their tickets for years, by introducing smaller wins with much better odds. This helped lottery buyers experience the thrill of a win.
The odds to win are so small that winning does not even feature in our decision matrix of buying a ticket. The game of lottery isn’t played on logic, or for investment, but for entertainment.
For as little as two dollars, a person dreams of getting a chance to win thousands of dollars, and that dream is worth the price of the ticket. The bigger the jackpot is, the more the dreams are fed.
The debate about how material belongings can get in the way of our happiness dates back hundreds of years:
The things we buy might make us happy in the moment, but that feeling fades away over time. This phenomenon is called the “hedonic treadmill."
We get used to things that we have, and when new, more attractive things catch our eye, we feel like we need to keep getting more stuff to maintain those feelings.