Tuesday, August 05, 2008

And Again, Maybe Our Parents Were Right

My parents (i.e., your great grandparents, probably) thought gambling was the Devil's tool. Not that they put much stock in the devil, but gambling was wrong and foolish (not much difference between the two concepts in their mind, or mine). Catholicism's embrace on bingo was one reason to look dubiously on it. But in the 1960's those attitudes started to seem old fashioned.

But maybe they were right--from a writeup of a scholarly study of lotteries (hat tip, Freakonomics):
In the study, the researchers note that lotteries set off a vicious cycle that not only exploits low-income individuals' desires to escape poverty but also directly prevents them from improving upon their financial situations. They recommend that state lottery administrators explore strategies that balance the economic burdens faced by low-income households with the need to maintain important funding streams for state governments.
Maybe the spread of gambling in the last half of the 20th century has a little something to do with the increase in inequality? Maybe?

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