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Fundamental comparative advantage versus random talent: An analysis using chess data

Listed author(s):
  • Asier Minondo

    (Deusto Business School, University of Deusto, Camino de Mundaiz 50, 20012 Donostia - San Sebastian (Spain). Research afiliate of Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales.)

This paper analyzes the contribution of fundamental comparative advantage and random talent to explain differences in the number of expert chess players across countries. I posit a model where the quality of a chess player is determined by her innate talent and the fundamental comparative advantage of the country she is born. Using data on chess players FIDE ratings for 2015, I find that fundamental comparative advantage explains between 65% and 97% of the variation in the number of expert chess players across countries. Despite the appearance of chess servers that allow playing on-line and other tools to improve skills, I do not find convergence in comparative advantage over the period 2001-2015. I find that fundamental comparative advantage is highly positively correlated with the popularity of chess. These results highlight that a social preference might generate a more advanced technology which leads to a fundamental comparative advantage.

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File URL: ftp://147.156.210.157/RePEc/pdf/eec_1605.pdf
File Function: First version, 2016
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Paper provided by Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia in its series Working Papers with number 1605.

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Date of creation: Jul 2016
Handle: RePEc:eec:wpaper:1605
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