The Price of Regret

How much would you pay to avoid regrets? A new study (gated) by psychologists Niels van de Ven and Marcel Zeelenberg finds that people are willing to forgo direct benefits in order to avoid regrets.

Cracking the Lottery Code

In Wired, Jonah Lehrer profiles Mohan Srivastava, a Toronto statistician who seemingly cracked the scratch-lottery ticket code. "The tic-tac-toe lottery was seriously flawed," writes Lehrer. "It took a few hours of studying his tickets and some statistical sleuthing, but he discovered a defect in the game: The visible numbers turned out to reveal essential information about the digits hidden under the latex coating. Nothing needed to be scratched off-the ticket could be cracked if you knew the secret code."

Another Idea for an IRS Lottery

It seems that Freakonomics readers aren't the only people with lotteries on the brain. In the Harvard Business Review, Steve Martin and Paul Dolan have suggested a different kind of lottery for taxpayers.

Paying Drivers to Not Speed

A number of Freakonomics readers have alerted us to yet another novel lottery idea. As Wired reports, Kevin Richardson won Volkswagen's Fun Theory contest for his idea.

Another Lottery Idea Worth Considering?

We recently released a two-part podcast about Prize-Linked Savings, which are typically bank accounts or government bonds that shave a bit of interest off the top and pool together that interest to award regular big cash prizes to random account holders. The idea is to offer the thrill of the lottery with the principal-retaining properties of a savings or bond account.

The "No-Lose" Lottery

For this week’s Freakonomics Radio segment on Marketplace, I sent host Kai Ryssdal two envelopes. The first one contained an object that Americans spent over $58 billion on last year: a lottery ticket. We know Americans like to play the lottery, even though it’s not a very good investment. The odds of winning aren’t great, […]

Very Long Odds in the Israeli Lottery

A funny thing happened in Israel last week. The winning state lottery numbers were the same as the numbers drawn three weeks earlier.

A Lottery for Smart People

Most lotteries are a sucker's game. But a group of credit unions in Michigan has come up with a lottery that everyone wins. The idea is that each time a customer makes a savings deposit of $25 or more, he or she is entered into a raffle to win $400, plus a chance to win the $100,000 annual jackpot.