Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 57–75 | Cite as

Myopic risk-seeking: The impact of narrow decision bracketing on lottery play

  • Emily Haisley
  • Romel Mostafa
  • George LoewensteinEmail author


In two experiments conducted with low-income participants, we find that individuals are more likely to buy state lottery tickets when they make several purchase decisions one-at-a-time, i.e. myopically, than when they make one decision about how many tickets to purchase. These results extend earlier findings showing that “broad bracketing” of decisions encourages behavior consistent with expected value maximization. Additionally, the results suggest that the combination of myopic decision making and the “peanuts effect”—greater risk seeking for low stakes than high stakes gambles—can help explain the popularity of state lotteries.


Decision framing Bracketing State lotteries Myopic loss aversion Peanuts effect Gambling 

JEL Classification

C91 D81 I30 



We thank the editor and an anonymous referee for extensive helpful comments. We also thank research assistants Ryan Menefee and Sarat Mikkilineni. This research was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation Small Grants in Behavioral Economics Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Haisley
    • 1
  • Romel Mostafa
    • 2
  • George Loewenstein
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Organizational Behavior and TheoryCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social and Decision SciencesCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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