In August 2014, the police caught an unemployed man during a robbery. The man had just gambled away his complete unemployment benefits the previous evening. Why do people who have suffered tremendous losses not stop but engage in even riskier behavior?
In his bachelor thesis, Holger Westkämper provides a rationale in form of a theoretical model. Our preferences were shaped in a time, where sticking one's neck out made sense. Surviving is crucial to enjoy the benefits of living. If resources are low, it makes sense to use them all up to ensure survival. In modern times, threats may still feel existential and trigger the old response, although it is no longer optimal.