Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Michael K. Price
Don Bruce, William Neilson, Nicholas Nagle
Since the first modern state-sponsored lottery was instituted in New Hampshire in 1964, lotteries have proliferated to 42 states and the District of Colombia. With little exception, research has shown that these lotteries are a highly regressive form of taxation. However, this body of research does not take into account a theoretical finding that the manner in which collected funds are earmarked impacts participation patterns. The goal of this dissertation is to test this finding empirically.
In the first analysis, I use sales data from the Tennessee Education Lottery and scholarship data from the TEL Scholarship program to test this theory directly. I find that instant game sales are increasing in the number of scholarships awarded in a given county and that the implicit tax incidence is less regressive than in certain other states. Theory does not hold for Powerball sales. This may be due to a misconception that buying into a multi-state game does not directly subsidize programs in Tennessee.
In the second analysis, I focus on the Texas Lottery, which began as a revenue stream for the state’s General Fund, but eventually became a dedicated revenue stream for K-12 education. I exploit this change to test for a structural break in the demand for two lottery games. Then, I extend an existing theory of lottery demand to take this structural break into account. I find that there is a structural break at the time the earmark is implemented, and that the lottery is less regressive after the earmark.
Mitchell, Kara Diane Smith, "Essays on State Lottery Demand and Revenue Earmarks. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2011.