Voting and lotteries

Here’s David Henderson:

Before going to UCLA to do graduate work, I had been reading books and articles by Gordon Tullock, James Buchanan, and Anthony Downs. They had shown that the probability of affecting the outcome of a typical election was so close to zero that the expected value of voting was substantially less than its cost. Therefore, they concluded, there was no point in voting, no matter which way you would vote, even in a close election.

David goes on to show the folly of this sort of economistic thinking.  People vote because it’s the right thing to do.  I know my vote won’t sway a Massachusetts election, and I vote.  My economist friends know their vote won’t sway the election, and they vote.  It’s discouraging that David and I seem to be in the minority, lots of economists think there is some sort of mystery as to why people vote.  They vote because they get utility out of doing their civic duty.  Why is that so hard to understand?

Here’s Alex Tabarrok:

Poor people often do things that are against their long-term interests such as playing the lottery, borrowing too much and saving too little. Shah, Mullainathan and Sahfir have a new theory to explain some of these puzzles.

I don’t see lotteries as posing any sort of puzzle.  Indeed it seems to me that poor people should buy lottery tickets.  Suppose you were stuck in a deadend job, and had little hope for a better future.  Wouldn’t it be rational to spend a few bucks a week on lottery tickets, to buy some hope?  Life without hope for the future is very difficult.  If you’ve never experienced it consider yourself lucky.

My general view is that economists should not focus on explaining why people do certain things.  Rather they should explain how changes in costs and benefits affect how often people do those things.  My colleague David Gulley has done studies using a rational expectations model that shows people respond rationally to changes in the expected payoff from lotteries.  I have no doubt that people would also respond rationally to a tax on voting, or a penalty for not voting.


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39 Responses to “Voting and lotteries”

  1. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    27. November 2012 at 10:03

    The problem to be explained in economics is how a design-like or plan-like order in the general coordination of human activities is possible without a designer or planner.

    Economists overwhelmingly are unable to explain that simple thing — their fake & fraudulent models of “science’ and knowledge *rule out* the only sound causal mechanism on the table.

    The other central problem to be explained in economics is why there should ever be systematic discoordinations — eg booms and busts — within the general pattern of roughly coordinated plans across time.

    Again, the false view of “science” enforced by the professors *blocks* the possibility of acknowledging the central causal mechanisms behind this systematic pattern of coordination, eg systematic discoordinations in the pattern of coordinating different inputs of alternative time lengths and outputs across time, involving systematically misjudged relative value, risk, and production relations across time, implicating shadow money, money substitute asset prices, etc.

    Economists can continue to invent all sorts of distracting alternatives “tasks” and “objects of study” for economics, but failing to provide any causally sound mechanism for problems #1 and #2 above leaves the whose field of economic “science” in disrepute.

    Scott writes,

    “My general view is that economists should not focus on explaining why people do certain things. Rather they should explain how changes in costs and benefits affect how often people do those things.”

  2. Gravatar of Jaime Jaime
    27. November 2012 at 10:11

    Voting may be a crap shoot anyway, but I hereby propose combining voting and gambling via the National Voting Lottery. Vote in an election–get a lottery ticket! How to fund the lottery? Tax all election campaigns. (With graduated tax brackets of course–soak the rich candidates!)

    Furthermore, for maximum dramatic effect, the president at the next State of the Union address after the election, could draw the winner’s name at the end of his speech!

    (Or maybe at the beginning–I like to get to bed early and some of them do drone on.)

    I guarantee that under my proposal voter turnout would see a marked increase.

  3. Gravatar of Ram Ram
    27. November 2012 at 10:12

    Take a look at the “Why Vote?” NYTimes article by the Freakonomists from 2005. In the study they cite, a reduction in the cost of voting leads to associated with mail-in ballots lowered turnout, because the benefit of voting, supposedly, was to be seen by one’s peers at the polling station. Rational, yes, but economic margins having unusual interactions with non-economic motivations.

  4. Gravatar of RPLong RPLong
    27. November 2012 at 10:19

    Hear, hear. Excellent post.

  5. Gravatar of marcus nunes marcus nunes
    27. November 2012 at 10:40

    “Not why people do certain things but how changes in costs and benefits affect how often people do those things”.
    I don´t understand why that should not be universally accepted given economics deals with things at the margin. Change the constraint (costs and payoffs) and see how people change their behavior…
    That said, Ram´s last point is interesting. If “being seen by peers” gave out a large benefit, the cost reduction also reduced the “benefit” because one would expect their peers would be less likely to show up.

  6. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    27. November 2012 at 11:17

    This belongs in the previous thread, under why Bruce Bartlett is either disingenuous or nuts;

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-launches-full-court-press-on-fiscal-cliff-as-talks-accelerate/2012/11/27/bd28dd2c-388f-11e2-a263-f0ebffed2f15_story.html

    ‘Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said Tuesday morning that changes to Social Security and Medicare should not be a part of the “fiscal cliff” talks.

    ‘“Social Security doesn’t add a penny to the debt and should not be part of any deficit reduction talks. We can and must do what we can to ensure its solvency for another 75 years, but that is another topic for another time, “ Durbin said, according to prepared remarks circulated by his office.’

    Oh, those close-minded Republicans.

  7. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    27. November 2012 at 11:28

    This kind of argument-no point in voting- is reductio absurdem and commits the fallacy of composition-or something like that! lOL

    For example I live in NY and of course am aconvinced Democrat-previously I lived where you do, in Mass.

    So it was the same there. It would seem there’s no point in voting-as the Democrats are assured of victory in both states.

    Yet it’s not logical for me not to vote-as what if everyone reasoned this way?

    There’s always the factor of what-in Lacanaian psychoanalysis-is called the Big Other.

    What will they do, how will they vote?

    So in that sense it makes sense to vote. Of course civic duty is another very good reason. And luckily in both NY and Mass it’s not at ll difficult to and is a rather pleasant experience-quick and painless.

  8. Gravatar of Austin Austin
    27. November 2012 at 11:42

    The lottery is a brilliant system. It successfully raises revenue for things like parks; it’s a voluntary, market-based way to raise revenue for the state, give people entertainment value, and, to the lucky few, allow them to receive a windfall.

    I am baffled by people that argue against the lottery, claiming it is a “poor person’s tax,” or other such nonesense and then claim a better solution to improve the lives of poor people is to abolish the lotter and *actually* tax them instead!

    Ha! The way some elitests think!

  9. Gravatar of Andy Harless Andy Harless
    27. November 2012 at 11:50

    They vote because they get utility out of doing their civic duty.

    I don’t think that really answers the question. If the value of voting (to society) isn’t worth the cost (as presumably it isn’t if there is almost zero chance of affecting the outcome), then why do they consider it their civic duty?

  10. Gravatar of Victor Victor
    27. November 2012 at 11:51

    If people cares about others (which I think is true for most people), voting can be a rational choice.(http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/rational_final6.pdf)

  11. Gravatar of OneEyedMan OneEyedMan
    27. November 2012 at 11:56

    @Austin
    I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I dislike the lottery in major part because of the state monopoly. This leads to artificially low payouts which boost proceeds and are used to fund the parks, schools, and other stuff. If the state uses its monopoly to fund activities that is better than a tax only if I wouldn’t purchase the good with or without the state monopoly. Otherwise, the monopoly makes buyers worse off through lower payoffs and some buy nothing at all as a result. I might gamble at a casino with ~98% payout ratios but never the lottery with <72% payouts.

  12. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    27. November 2012 at 12:01

    Why do you think that voting is anyone’s “civic duty”? What if, as is likely, one could do more good by some other action than voting?

    And you make having a “deadend job” sound like hell. Actually it can be quite a comfortable existence. Of course, one must have hope; but how about simply hoping to go on living an enjoyable life?

    This may be your weakest post ever.

  13. Gravatar of Austin Austin
    27. November 2012 at 12:04

    @OneEyedMan,

    Well, of course anything the state does it will do sub-optimally, but considering the constraints, the lottery is perhaps that which it does best.

    The great thing about the lottery is that people like you, who don’t like and choose not to participate, still get to share in some of the benefits and it is your free choice to spend your money elsewhere.

    While it may not be as good as a private casino, surely it’s better than a tax. If the state is going to raise revenue, the lottery is about a good a way to do it as it can.

  14. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    27. November 2012 at 12:06

    Mike Sax: “And luckily in both NY and Mass it’s not at ll difficult to and is a rather pleasant experience-quick and painless.”

    Three hours lines in MA is “quick and painless”? Really?

  15. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    27. November 2012 at 12:08

    We could combine the lottery and elections. Draw 10,000 names out of a hat, and give those people the civic duty to cast votes on behalf of the rest of us. One man, one lottery ticket for the right to vote.

  16. Gravatar of OneEyedMan OneEyedMan
    27. November 2012 at 12:30

    @Austin,
    What are you considering as the alternative? I prefer having a government monopoly on the lottery to ban all gambling, but I would prefer a universal consumption tax and competitive markets for lotteries to either. That should be welfare improving over both alternatives under a variety of assumptions.

    Government monopoly = legalization + heavy tax on winnings
    Heavy taxes on particular goods are usually bad, and especially so for good with elastic demand, of which I suspect is the lottery is one (see for example Elasticity of Demand for UK National Lottery Tickets, “The steady–state long–run price elasticity of demand, which we argue is the elasticity of primary interest to the authorities, is estimated as –1.03.”). So it worse for many measures of welfare than a broad but lower tax that cannot be avoided.

  17. Gravatar of Austin Austin
    27. November 2012 at 12:39

    @OneEyedMan,

    I would definitely prefer those things! And as long as I’m wishing I’d like a pony. =)

  18. Gravatar of Austin Austin
    27. November 2012 at 12:51

    Anyway, I’m not arguing that the lottery is the best system out there or even that it’s the best it can be.

    I was just pointing out the absurdity of the argument that some make that goes like this:

    1. The lottery hurts poor people because the money they spend on it could be better spent elsewhere or saved.

    2. Since it’s mostly the poor that play the lottery, the lottery hurts them and acts as a poor tax.

    3. Therefore, the poor would be better served if we abolish the lottery and institute a tax instead.

    Yes, I’ve *actually* heard this argument before.

  19. Gravatar of Major_Freedom Major_Freedom
    27. November 2012 at 12:52

    David goes on to show the folly of this sort of economistic thinking. People vote because it’s the right thing to do. I know my vote won’t sway a Massachusetts election, and I vote. My economist friends know their vote won’t sway the election, and they vote. It’s discouraging that David and I seem to be in the minority, lots of economists think there is some sort of mystery as to why people vote. They vote because they get utility out of doing their civic duty. Why is that so hard to understand?

    It’s because most economists assume the “rational” homo economicus model of human behavior. They would argue that “doing one’s duty”, despite the fact that the outcome won’t be swayed by their individual vote, is “irrational” behavior and hence somehow flawed.

    Austrians recognize that humans act purposefully, and so are not prejudiced against ANY emotional or psychological impetus for why individuals do what they do. If an individual chooses to vote out of a psychological sense of duty, then the Austrian will say OK, assuming that is the reason, I can say that the individual in their own minds hold that voting is superior and ex ante creates gains that exceed the costs, and that’s why they vote. In addition, their voting, since it is an action, would invariably include the use of means (legs, car, voting booth, pen, paper, touchpad, etc) to accomplish a desired end (doing one’s duty, and/or hoping to contribute towards the election of one’s preferred candidate, etc).

    This is why Austrians reject all “rational” homo economicus models of human behavior. They are necessarily arbitrary and artificially restricted. They do not take into account “psychic utility”.

    Here’s Alex Tabarrok:

    Poor people often do things that are against their long-term interests such as playing the lottery, borrowing too much and saving too little. Shah, Mullainathan and Sahfir have a new theory to explain some of these puzzles.

    Do you see how one false theory (poor people often do things AGAINST their “long-term interests”, as if their interests are separate from their actual desires and rule them), leads to introducing new (false) models that try to “explain” why the false theory is not being observed?

    Shah, Mullainathan and Sahfir are just re-introducing the old Marxist doctrine that production relations, i.e. wealth distribution/amounts, determines human ideas and behavior. This model is just another attack on active reason. Instead of reason and ideas being the motive force in determining production relations and wealth, they are instead treated as absent, and this void is filled with the motive force of production relations and wealth.

    I don’t see lotteries as posing any sort of puzzle. Indeed it seems to me that poor people should buy lottery tickets. Suppose you were stuck in a deadend job, and had little hope for a better future. Wouldn’t it be rational to spend a few bucks a week on lottery tickets, to buy some hope? Life without hope for the future is very difficult. If you’ve never experienced it consider yourself lucky.

    My general view is that economists should not focus on explaining why people do certain things. Rather they should explain how changes in costs and benefits affect how often people do those things.

    You are saying economists should focus on the costs and benefits that individuals take into account when they act. In other words, that’s still a “why people do certain things.”

    My colleague David Gulley has done studies using a rational expectations model that shows people respond rationally to changes in the expected payoff from lotteries.

    People? Does he mean everyone, at all times, at all places? Or does he mean a majority of players, over the last 5 years, in the US? Whatever David Gulley claims is the case, his model will not apply to someone like me who doesn’t spend a penny on any lottery no matter how big the payoff is. His rational expectations model can be falsified by me purposefully just to prove that it isn’t binding. All empirical models are subject to this weakness. None of them even address the learning component of human life. We’re allegedly all just a bunch of robots who respond automatically to various stimuli in a priori deterministic ways. Then the newest fad model is falsified, and another is introduced as a replacement. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Exactly like subsequent inflation schemes. If NGDP targeting were to be adopted, then it too will be integrated into human learning, and it too would lose the effectiveness that it was thought to have before it was targeted as a policy instrument. The Lucas Critique would throw the hammer down.

    I have no doubt that people would also respond rationally to a tax on voting, or a penalty for not voting.

    If a tax was imposed on voting, or if a tax were imposed on not voting, then it would be wrong to claim that this will determine an individual’s behavior. Costs are subjective. In other words, each individual has their own scale of opportunity costs. If a tax were imposed on voting, then whether or not they end up voting would depend on where in their cost scales the tax money resides. If it’s relatively lower, then their decision to vote (assuming they would otherwise have voted) will remain intact. If it’s relatively higher, then their decision to vote will otherwise be different. For some people the tax would have to be quite high before their decision is otherwise different, while for others it only has to be quite low.

    The changes in a given set of costs and benefits, that you argue economists should focus on, are costs and benefits that 1. may not even be actual deciding costs and benefits for a given individual, 2. may not reside in the same ranking structure in one individual as it does with other individuals, and 3. are subject to change, both in terms of content and in terms of how the costs and benefits are weighed.

    Economists should instead focus on the concepts of costs and benefits themselves, why they are even concepts in the first place, how they relate to human behavior, and so on.

  20. Gravatar of Doug M Doug M
    27. November 2012 at 12:56

    Jaime,

    Slot machine voting, turn in your ballot and spin the wheel. I don’t want to have to wait for the drawing to find out if my ticket won, much less my candidates.

    But, why do I want to see voter turnout increase. I will assume that the voter who is on the cusp between voting and not voting is a “low information” voter. Why do I want more low information voters voting? And why would I want anyone to dilute the value of my vote?

    One man one vote, so long as I am the man and I have the vote.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    27. November 2012 at 13:13

    Ram, Interesting, I believe that non-voters are fined in Australia, and turnout is very high.

    Oddly no one would ever know if I didn’t vote, would they?

    Austin. I’m the odd duck who favors the lottery but doesn’t think it should be used to raise revenue. The revenue raising portion is a regressive tax. BTW, the idea of a “voluntary tax” is nonsense, all taxes are voluntary in one sense and mandatory in another sense. The lottery is no different from a tax on gas or cigarettes.

    Andy, I certainly believe the value to society of elections is worth much more than the aggregate time cost of voting. I had thought the objection was that the private gain was smaller than the private time cost, so there was a puzzle as to why people didn’t free ride.

    Philo, I think you misunderstood my post. Indeed it might be your weakest reading of one of my posts ever. I would never claim that all deadend jobs are unpleasant, but certainly some are. And I’d never deny that people can get hope from multiple sources. You have to think at the margin, do lotteries provide a bit extra hope, for people who are low on that emotion? And the answer is yes.

    As far as voting, countries run far better with democratic governments. If people are selfish and don’t work to provide better governace, we end up a failed state.

    That doesn’t mean non-voters are horrible people, just as the fact that someone speeds or jaywalks doesn’t make them a horrible person. But societies do better when people behave in socially constructive ways.

    BTW, My next post will be even weaker, you may want to skip it.

    Steve, I live in MA and have never faced a line.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    27. November 2012 at 13:14

    Austin, You are right that abolishing the lottery would hurt the poor even more.

    Non revenue lottery >> revenue lottery >> no lottery

  23. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    27. November 2012 at 13:17

    Steve I never faced a line either. I don’t know what part you’re in

  24. Gravatar of Doug M Doug M
    27. November 2012 at 13:59

    When I at Cal the line was about an hour long, and I was disenfranchised for showing up without a drivers license.

  25. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    27. November 2012 at 14:50

    I was disenfranchised for showing up without three hours to kill. In a very liberal district of Boston. Mike Sax, you should be all over this democratic disenfranchisement.

  26. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    27. November 2012 at 18:44

    Here’s what I read: “Suppose you were stuck in a deadend job, and had little hope for a better future. Wouldn’t it be rational to spend a few bucks a week on lottery tickets, to buy some hope? Life without hope for the future is very difficult. If you’ve never experienced it consider yourself lucky.”

    I currently have very little (realistic) hope for a better future, given my advanced age. But I’m nowhere near despair, being comfortably well off in retirement. Of course, *life without hope for the future* is not at all the same as *life without hope for A BETTER future*. Think about a case like mine, where the present is pretty good, and one *hopes* it will continue to be so
    .
    But if were desperate, and felt the need to gamble, I look for better odds—maybe in the stock market—than I’d get in a lottery.

    I have now read you next three posts; they are fine. But this one was very weak.

  27. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    27. November 2012 at 18:44

    you*r*

  28. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    27. November 2012 at 22:21

    They vote because they get utility out of doing their civic duty.”

    Or as David Friedman might have put it:

    “Why did I stand on my head on the table while holding a burning $1000 bill between my toes? I got more utility out of standing on my head on the table while holding a burning $1000 bill between my toes.”

    Economists explain behavior (actually, the outcomes of behavior). Costs and benefits are themselves part of the analytic apparatus. If different groups have different behaviors then costs, benefits and tastes all matter in determining outcomes. If you restrict yourself to predicting changes in behavior/outcomes occurring after what you already regard as “costs and benefits” seem to you to have changed, then once again you have to make assumptions about what happens to the “preferences” as the “constraints” change. Otherwise any outcome can be explained by appealing to changing preferences instead of constraints (or vice versa). Gary Becker addressed this very issue a long time ago now.

    To put it even more clearly:

    “Mr. Economist, why is society doing this?”

    “Ahh, that is a fallacy sir. Society does nothing, only individuals act. This is the emergent outcome of thousands of individual behaviors.”

    “Alright sir, why are the individuals doing those things?”

    “Why, because it maximizes their utility, of course!”

    On the other hand, if we propose stable preferences regarding status, signaling and group identity, we might make more headway. Eg. Suppose Scott Sumner’s “economist friends” switched to being Tullockians. How would this affect Scott’s behavior? (And note that it doesn’t have to be about “costs and benefits”, narrowly construed – or for that matter anything so broadly construed as to be meaningless.)

    Also, I predict that your decision making process in this last presidential vote was not nearly as rational as eg. when you bought your last car.

    And FTR the Mullainathan paper is brilliant.

  29. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    29. November 2012 at 07:05

    There are far cheaper and better ways to buy hope that state lotteries.

  30. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    29. November 2012 at 07:15

    One other thing is your civic duty is find out about good policy and relatively good politicians not to just vote. Vote without the other is worse than not voting.

  31. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    29. November 2012 at 07:31

    I almost missed a chance to plug my idea:


    The state lotteries have been called a tax on stupidity and predation on the poor but I have an Idea for a savings lottery, you have an account and you buy lottery tickets in the account. 50% of the money that you spend on tickets goes into an investment account, 10% goes to the retailer, 10% goes to the state and 30% is paid out in winnings.

  32. Gravatar of Major-Freedom Major-Freedom
    29. November 2012 at 07:50

    ssumner:

    If people are selfish and don’t work to provide better governace, we end up a failed state.

    It takes selfishness to create and maintain a state, namely, the sort of selfishness that entails: “I want to satisfy my selfish interests by demanding your property and your obedience. If you don’t consent to that, then I will satisfy my selfish interests by kidnapping you and throwing you into a cage. If you don’t consent to that, then I will satisfy my selfish interests by shooting at you. Oh, and if you dare consider yourself to be sovereign, or in business with another security and protection provider, then I will satisfy my selfish interests in using force against them too.”

    A failed state would actually require a cessation of the kind of selfishness described above.

    Is your support for NGDP targeting, deep down, really just an attempt to “improve governance” and thus improve/prolong the US state? If so, no wonder the neo-con magazine Foreign Policy wants to thank you. They are picking up on that. You have given them fodder for further US hegemony abroad. After all, you can’t run an empire when you are crumbling internally. The irony is that more inflation will only speed up the internal crumbling. The same thing happened to the Roman Empire.

  33. Gravatar of Vivian Darkbloom Vivian Darkbloom
    29. November 2012 at 08:53

    Sax:

    “It would seem there’s no point in voting-as the Democrats are assured of victory in both states.”

    Sumner:

    “People vote because it’s the right thing to do.”

    “Wouldn’t it be rational to spend a few bucks a week on lottery tickets, to buy some hope? Life without hope for the future is very difficult ”

    I like the juxtaposition between voting and lotteries. I’m surprised that nobody has drawn the conclusion that some people may vote for the same reason that one buys lottery tickets—to buy some hope, despite the low chances of success. Perhaps hope has more to do with voting than civic duty or “doing the right thing”.

  34. Gravatar of Keshav Srinivasan Keshav Srinivasan
    29. November 2012 at 16:43

    Scott, you say “My general view is that economists should not focus on explaining why people do certain things. Rather they should explain how changes in costs and benefits affect how often people do those things.” Well then, would you consider this example from Krugman to be the kind of case of genuine irrationality that economists should puzzle at?

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/mental-accounting-and-the-microfoundations-wars/
    “I’m old enough (you kids get off my lawn) to remember the rise of self-service gas stations, which coincided with the oil shocks of the 1970s. Suddenly gas was much more expensive — and drivers, eager to limit the blow, were willing to pump their own to save a few pennies.

    At the time, being either in or fresh out of grad school, I thought, wait, this makes no sense: the decision to pump your own gas is about making a tradeoff between money and your own effort, and should have nothing special to do with the price of gasoline per se. Yet people acted as if they had a limited budget for fuel, as opposed to an overall budget constraint, and responded to a rise in gas prices with a seemingly irrational effort to hold down the size of that sub-budget.”

  35. Gravatar of Razer Razer
    29. November 2012 at 17:10

    What if want to withdraw your consent? Voting would not help make this clear at all. To the state, high voter turnout is what they want. It justifies their existence. Very low voter turnout shows that the public has little confidence or has withdrawn its support altogether. Scott, always the eager statist and central planner doesn’t understand why or how not voting can make a louder statement than just pulling the R or D lever like every other brainwashed statist voter.

  36. Gravatar of Wonks Anonymous Wonks Anonymous
    30. November 2012 at 07:53

    Lotteries: A Waste of Hope by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

  37. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. December 2012 at 07:26

    Saturos, I think you misunderstood my comment. I did explain why people vote, and why they buy lottery tickets, and my explanation was perfectly rational. My point was that if you think that a certain widespread activity is irrational, perhaps you are not thinking hard enough. One might start by asking people why they do things. Do you think most people would say their vote is likely to sway the election? Do you think most people would say they will come out ahead on average buying lottery tickets?

    The day after writing this post I heard NPR interview a lottery purchaser. He said “People need to dream. What’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning if you have no dream?”

    That’s what I said.

  38. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. December 2012 at 07:29

    Wonks, Eliezer’s post is obviously written by a non-economist. Maybe it’s easier to spend a buck on a ready-made fantasy, rather than try to creatively invent one on your own.

  39. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    2. December 2012 at 01:21

    Scott, you’ll probably find this one interesting: http://hbr.org/2012/12/saving-economics-from-the-economists/ar/1

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