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The determinants of individual gambling behavior

Martedì 18 marzo 2014 -h. 13.00
SPS Seminar

The determinants of individual gambling behavior.
An empirical study on college students in Milan

Relatori: Simone Sarti (Università degli Studi di Milano) e Moris Triventi (European University Institute)

Aula seminari SPS (stanza 215, II piano, ala via Passione)
Dip. di Scienze Sociali e politiche
Via Conservatorio, 7- Milano

Abstract
In this presentation we address a relatively overlooked topic in sociology: the determinants of individual gambling behaviour. Most of the micro-level works in this field explain gambling using cognitive theories: individuals with lower cognitive skills and a lower understanding of probability are more likely to be involved in gambling activities. In our study, we argue that along cognitive factors, several characteristics of the social environment in which individuals are embedded play an important role as well. We analyse data from an ad hoc webmail survey on bachelor students, enrolled at the University of Milan in the academic year 2012-13 (analytical sample: 2,020 cases). With bivariate analyses and structural equations models, we show that social variables affect both participation in gambling in the last year and latent gambling propensity. In particular, controlling for several proxies of cognitive ability (school marks, an index of understanding of probability rules, overconfidence in the likelihood of winning), gambling propensity is positively affected by the degree of gambling participation in the student’s social surrounding (parents, peers, neighbourhood) and the acceptability of gambling activities by the individual (a proxy for interiorized social norms), while it is negatively related to parental education.

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17 febbraio 2014
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