As U.S. states and countries around the world consider legalizing casino gambling, the social costs of gambling continue to be hotly debated. This paper examines the social cost issue from a welfare economics perspective, and discusses the 2005 paper by Thompson and Schwer, published in this Journal. Their article exhibits a number of problems common in gambling research, including a flawed conception of social costs and a variety of measurement errors. For example, Thompson and Schwer count many costs borne by individuals as “social costs.” In addition, many of their cost estimates appear to be arbitrary. As a result, the Thompson and Schwer social cost estimate is likely a serious overstatement of the actual costs.
Walker, D. (2008), "Clarification of the social costs of gambling", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 141-152. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-20-02-2008-B001Download as .RIS
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