A development lottery

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Malawi is the latest country to set up a national sweepstake, aiming to use some of the proceeds to fund development projects, but do state lotteries really work?

That’s what the BBC is asking you. Doesn’t make sense to me.

I don’t know much about this, but this sounds like a terrible idea because:

  1. the use of lottery proceeds to improve public education systems in the US has been mixed - at best,
  2. tremendous governance concerns,
  3. significant transaction costs, and
  4. the poorest will inevitably be the players (losers) of this lottery which is supposedly meant to subsidize the essential services they are not receiving. A rural farmer in Malawi has much better use for a dollar than spending it on a lottery ticket.

Would make more sense to have a RED lottery in Europe earmarked to development projects in Malawi – though even the economics of that is questionable.

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