Document Type

Working Paper

Date of This Version

8-1-2011

Abstract

Lotteries represent an important source of government revenues in many states and countries, so they are of interest to public finance economists. In addition, lotteries provide researchers interested in microeconomic theory and consumer behavior with a type of experimental lab that allows economists to explore these topics. This paper surveys the existing literature on lotteries organized around these two central themes. The first section examines the microeconomic aspects of lotteries including consumer decision-making under uncertainty, price and income elasticities of demand for lottery tickets, cross-price elasticities of lottery ticket to each other and to other gambling products, consumer rationality and gambling, and the efficiency of lottery markets. The second section covers topics related to public finance and public choice including the revenue potential of lotteries, the tax efficiency and dead-weight loss of lottery games, the horizontal and vertical equity of lotteries, earmarking and the fungibility of lottery revenues, and individual state decisions to participate in participate in public lotteries.

Working Paper Number

1109

Included in

Economics Commons

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