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Jackpot? Gender Differences in the Effects of Lottery Wins on Separation


  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005, Barcelona, Spain (


In this study, information on small to modest lottery wins from the British Household Panel Survey (N = 2,563) was used to investigate the effect of income on separation. The analysis demonstrated that money matters within relationships. Lottery wins temporarily reduced the odds of separation after men won. Men spent more on leisure and became more satisfied with their leisure time and social lives after winning. Nevertheless, most of the effect of lottery wins on union stability was not mediated by changes in satisfaction; instead, a direct effect of wins on the threshold to leave relationships was observed. No effect on union stability was found when women won. Women did not spend their winnings on leisure time but instead saved or spent money on durable items. These types of spending did not increase satisfaction. The findings suggested that, within families, men acted relatively independently, whereas the behavior of women was more family oriented.