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Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004, 05:11 pm
Boggled By Math

So I've been reading this book called The Winner's Curse which my brother recommended to me - it's a book about how and why psychology tends to mess with traditional economic models. It's a little on the dense side, but absolutely fascinating. For example, it addresses issues like why there are wage differences between industries, even when people are doing the exact same job. (A secretary in a leather-goods business makes less than one who works for an auto manufacturer, which shouldn't be - the value of a human being's productivity ought to be the same across all markets, according to strict economic theory.)

Anyhow, so I'm reading along, and all of a sudden I come across something that boggles me: sometimes it makes financial sense to buy every single ticket for a lottery, if the pot is big enough, just to make sure you win. And not only that, but there are at least two criminal syndicates that do just that. Can you imagine getting the call? "Hey, Vinny. We got to go buy ten thousand lottery tickets." I have to use that in a story someday.

Thu, Jul. 22nd, 2004 03:34 am (UTC)

What was it... 2-3 years ago, when one of the US lotteries hit 78 Million. An australian Statistics company calculated how many lottery tickets they would need to be garaunteed to win and they hired 5 7-11 stores to run them all off 24/7... One of the stores backed out and as far as I know. The company didn't win... ;)