Jeopardy! champions come in all shapes and sizes, and many viewers love the game show’s diverse group of contestants. However, a new study has found that male players frequently make more money for one very specific reason.
A New Study Looks At How ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestants Play
Gabriella Sjogren Lindquist and Jenny Save-Soderbergh of the Swedish Institute for Social Research studied 206 episodes of Jeopardy!, focusing specifically on the Daily Double part of the game show.
The Daily Double involves betting an amount of money—as much or as little as the contestant likes, but it can’t exceed the amount they have already won through the course of the game. The study looked at the different ways male and female contestants bet.
According to Lindquist and Save-Soderbergh, there was “no systemic gender differences in performance,” meaning the amount of male and female contestants who answered a question correctly was fairly even. The study did find that male contestants are more likely to answer correctly when playing against only other men.
Who Bets More On A Daily Double?
When it came to betting, however, the study found that men typically make more money on the Daily Double for a fairly obvious reason: They bet more. The study reported that female contestants “apply a more conservative wagering strategy” when they’re playing against two men.
If a female contestant is playing against two other women, they will bet more but still don’t typically make the huge bets that male contestants do. The researchers stressed that their pool of Jeopardy! players don’t reflect society as a whole; the game show contestants have signed up to compete, meaning they’re more extroverted and enjoy playing against others.
Female Contestants Do Perform ‘Significantly Better’ Against Male Players
Lindquist and Save-Soderbergh explained that this difference in risk-taking across genders is probably “socially driven,” which could explain why there are fewer women “at the top end of the wage distribution.” Essentially, women are socialized to play it safe and not take big risks.
This hesitance to take risks pays off in the end, though. Lindquist and Save-Soderbergh found that, in terms of the final outcome of the game, women performed “significantly better” against two male contestants.
Jeopardy! has a huge group of winners of all genders, and every contestant plays the game differently. This new study has simply found that there’s a difference in how male and female players typically bet on the program.