Risk aversion and gender

“This paper aims to measure differences in risk behavior among expert chess players. The study employs a panel data set on international chess with 1.4 million games recorded over a period of 11 years. […] In line with previous research, we find that women are more risk-averse than men. A novel finding is that males choose more aggressive strategies when playing against female opponents even though such strategies reduce their winning probability.”


“We find that when a man plays against a woman, a solid strategy has a 1.5 percentage point higher probability of winning compared to not using such strategy.20 Our interpretation of these results is that, on average, it does appear irrational for males to opt for less solid strategies when they face a female opponent.”

Link. I’ll try remember this study; at some point it will surely save me some rating points!

This is the kind of finding where I’m tempted to say ‘I already knew that’, but of course I didn’t. I would have expected it if they had been looking at the results of matches between kids but we’re not talking about kids here, we’re talking about smart and strong adult chess players. A question for the next study: Are males in a relationsship less likely to play aggressively than males who are single? If so, does that mean that being in a relationsship makes males more risk averse? This would be my null hypothesis.


August 12, 2010 - Posted by | Chess, Studies

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