Predicting Lotto Numbers

C.B. Jorgensen, S. Suetens, J.R. Tyran

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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Abstract

We investigate the "law of small numbers" using a unique panel data set on lotto gambling. Because we can track individual players over time, we can measure how they react to outcomes of recent lotto drawings. We can therefore test whether they behave as if they believe they can predict lotto numbers based on recent drawings. While most players pick the same set of number week after week without regards of numbers drawn or anything else, we find that those who do change, act on average in the way predicted by the law of small numbers as formalized in recent behavioral theory. In particular, on average they move away from numbers that are on streak, i.e. have been drawn several weeks in a row, consistent with the "hot hand fallacy".
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherEconomics
Volume2011-033
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper
Volume2011-033

Fingerprint

Lotto
Behavioral theory
Panel data
Gambling

Keywords

  • gambler's fallacy
  • hot hand fallacy
  • representativeness
  • law of small numbers

Cite this

Jorgensen, C. B., Suetens, S., & Tyran, J. R. (2011). Predicting Lotto Numbers. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2011-033). Tilburg: Economics.
Jorgensen, C.B. ; Suetens, S. ; Tyran, J.R. / Predicting Lotto Numbers. Tilburg : Economics, 2011. (CentER Discussion Paper).
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Jorgensen, CB, Suetens, S & Tyran, JR 2011 'Predicting Lotto Numbers' CentER Discussion Paper, vol. 2011-033, Economics, Tilburg.

Predicting Lotto Numbers. / Jorgensen, C.B.; Suetens, S.; Tyran, J.R.

Tilburg : Economics, 2011. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2011-033).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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N2 - We investigate the "law of small numbers" using a unique panel data set on lotto gambling. Because we can track individual players over time, we can measure how they react to outcomes of recent lotto drawings. We can therefore test whether they behave as if they believe they can predict lotto numbers based on recent drawings. While most players pick the same set of number week after week without regards of numbers drawn or anything else, we find that those who do change, act on average in the way predicted by the law of small numbers as formalized in recent behavioral theory. In particular, on average they move away from numbers that are on streak, i.e. have been drawn several weeks in a row, consistent with the "hot hand fallacy".

AB - We investigate the "law of small numbers" using a unique panel data set on lotto gambling. Because we can track individual players over time, we can measure how they react to outcomes of recent lotto drawings. We can therefore test whether they behave as if they believe they can predict lotto numbers based on recent drawings. While most players pick the same set of number week after week without regards of numbers drawn or anything else, we find that those who do change, act on average in the way predicted by the law of small numbers as formalized in recent behavioral theory. In particular, on average they move away from numbers that are on streak, i.e. have been drawn several weeks in a row, consistent with the "hot hand fallacy".

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Jorgensen CB, Suetens S, Tyran JR. Predicting Lotto Numbers. Tilburg: Economics. 2011. (CentER Discussion Paper).