January 13, 2016 CBS MoneyWatch
Emily Oster, associate professor of economics and international and public affairs, comments on the behavior of people as the Powerball jackpot reached unprecedented levels. "This should be taken with extreme caution, since it is out-of-sample and it is difficult to know how people would behave at jackpots of this magnitude," she wrote in a 2004 paper. "People enjoy the opportunity to dream about what they might do if they were rich, which generally fuels a desire to play," she wrote to CBS MoneyWatch. "In addition, once everyone is playing, there is a strong social aspect to it."