Friday, March 17, 2017

Lottery winners disproportionately male

From Lottery winners: The myth and reality by H. Roy Kaplan. There is an established bromide that lottery winners can be undone by their good fortune. This research seeks to interrogate that assumption and finds it inaccurate. From the abstract.
This paper is based on a study of 576 lottery winners from 12 states. Respondents to a mailed questionnaire included winners of sums ranging from $50,000 to millions. The data indicate that popular myths and stereotypes about winners were inaccurate. Specifically, winners came from various education and employment backgrounds and they were clustered in the higher income categories than the general population indicating that lotteries might not be as regressive as popularly believed. Winners were older than the general population and more often male (60 versus 40%). There was significant association between the amount a person won and his or her work behavior. Individuals with psychologically and financially rewarding jobs continued working regardless of the amount they won, while people who worked in low paying semi-skilled and unskilled jobs were far more likely to quit the labor force. Contrary to popular beliefs, winners did not engage in lavish spending sprees and instead gave large amounts of their winnings to their children and their churches. The most common expenditures were for houses, automobiles and trips. It was found that overall, winners were well-adjusterd, secure and generally happy from the experience.
I found this sentence interesting: "Winners were older than the general population and more often male (60 versus 40%)." Why would there be a sex difference among lottery participants? I can think of no obvious reason other than the generally observed greater propensity of men to take risks.

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