Gender Differences in Jeopardy!: Alex Trebek Says Women Wager Less in Daily Double Bets.
We found 10,608 Daily Double bets made between 1984 and 2014 that could be identified as being from a man or woman. In that time period, the average male Daily Double bet was $1,963, and the average female Daily Double bet was $1,675. But men, on average, had accumulated more money before landing on the Daily Double than women had. If you look at Daily Double bets as a percentage of the player’s pot, the gap between male and female wagers is slim: Men bet an average of 42.97 percent of their current earnings on Daily Doubles, while women bet an average of 41.15 percent of their earnings.
If women were actually handicapped by their lower wagers, they would be more likely to win at this form of the game. But when we tallied Jeopardy! earnings without the Daily Doubles or Final Jeopardy questions included, we found that women would only win at this form of the game 29.5 percent of the time. They actually fare slightly better in the betting version. Of course, there could be other variables that would come up in this revamped game, but our findings do suggest bets alone can’t explain the discrepancy in male and female wins.
So where does that leave us? It’s easy for Trebek to say that female contestants need to get “a little more adventurous” with their Daily Double bets. That’s the Lean In explanation for Jeopardy!’s gender gap. It’s more difficult to entertain the other possibilities: That (a) the game itself may be stacked against women, (b) women aren’t as good at Jeopardy! for reasons that elude us, or (c) women are too busy worrying about grocery money to study their potent potables.