Bryan Caplan  

How Does Winning the Lottery Affect Ideology?

Rare Sighting... Outsource Your Future...

Not much. A neat new paper in Political Psychology by Doherty, Gerber, and Green finds that winning the lottery decreases support for the estate tax. But there is only weak evidence that lottery winners favor less redistribution, or are more pro-market generally. Winning the lottery...

...has little impact on broad orientations toward social stratification. Only one of the general items(ironically, the item that asks whether those in high positions have special abilities) comes close to statistical significance, and three of the four general items generate unexpectedly negative coefficients. Much more powerful and statistically robust is the relationship between lottery prizes and views about estate taxes.

No surprise to opponents of the Self-Interested Voter Hypothesis like me. But it's still worth repeating, for the SIVH is a zombie-like theory that refuses to die.

Thanks to Robin Hanson for the tip.

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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Eric writes:

I'd love to see a comparison of lotto winners with game show winners. Small stakes experiments tend to find big differences between earned money and windfall money....

Flynn writes:

Ummm... loss of support for the estate tax among lotto winners screams SIVH to me. And why should lotto winners be concerned with redistributive policies? My (limited) understanding of most lotto programs is that the tax rates are fixed once the annuity begins to pay out. So what difference would policy changes make to them if they're self-interested?

Mike Enright writes:

I would assume that lotto winners would favor redistributive policies. That is because the whole idea of wealthy people being "winners of life's lottery" probably rings true for them, after winning the lottery. Their wealth is accidental--why think that they shouldn't give back. I also think that most serious lottery players probably have the same outlook.

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