Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 227–232 | Cite as

Lotteries in the real world

  • Charles T. Clotfelter
  • Philip J. Cook


Observed patterns of lottery play suggest that many players believe they can improve their chance of winning by adjusting their bets according to which numbers have won in recent drawings, or in response to their dreams or other portents. This skill orientation is encouraged by state lottery advertising, which tends to be misleading in other respects as well. Patterns of lottery play and the content of lottery commercials provide readily available illustrations of psychological tendencies in risky decision-making that have been documented in laboratory experiments.

Key words

lotteries beliefs patterns of play advertising normative issues 


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  1. Clotfelter, Charles T. and Philip J. Cook. (1989).Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Clotfelter, Charles T. and Philip J. Cook. (1990). “On the Economics of State Lotteries”,Journal of Economic Perspectives 4(4), 105–119.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles T. Clotfelter
    • 1
  • Philip J. Cook
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Policy ScienceDuke UniversityDurham
  2. 2.Institute of Policy ScienceDuke UniversityDurham

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