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Neighbors of lottery winners are more likely to go bankrupt

With the Mega Millions jackpot at an estimated record high of $868 million ahead of Friday’s drawing, many are dreaming of what they would do with life-changing money.

Neighbors of lottery winners may want to mentally prepare themselves, too. They’re more likely to go bankrupt, a 2016 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found. Researchers theorized that neighbors of lottery winners were unconsciously trying to match their spending and going broke in the process.

“Income inequality induces poorer neighbors to consume more visible (rather than invisible) commodities to signal their abilities to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ to their richer neighbors,” wrote economists Sumit Agarwal, Vyacheslav Mikhed and Barry Scholnick.

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