Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 2/2012: Masters of Our Time: Impatience and Self-control in High-level Chess Games

Patrik Gränsmark ()
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Patrik Gränsmark: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper presents empirical findings on gender differences in time preference and inconsistency based on international, high-level chess panel data with a large number of observations, including a control for ability. Due to the time constraint in chess, it is possible to study performance and choices related to time preferences. The results suggest that men play shorter games on average and pay a higher price to end the game sooner. They also perform worse in shorter game compared to women but better in longer games. Furthermore, women perform worse in time pressure (the 40th move time control). The results are consistent with the interpretation that men are more impatient (with a lower discount factor) but also more inconsistent in the sense that they tend to be too impatient. Women, on the other hand, are more inconsistent as they tend to over-consume reflection time in the beginning, leading to time pressure later.

Keywords: Time preference; time inconsistency; impatience; gender; self-control problems

JEL-codes: D03; D91; J16

26 pages, February 7, 2012

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