Can Learning Chess Improve Student Creativity? A field experiment in Bangladesh

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We conduct a randomized field experiment to investigate the benefits of an intensive chess training program undertaken by primary school students in a developing country context. We examine the effects on academic outcomes, and a number of non-cognitive outcomes: risk preferences, patience, creativity and attention/focus. Our main finding is that chess training reduces the level of risk aversion almost a year after the intervention ended. We also find that chess training improves math scores, reduces the incidence of time inconsistency and the incidence of non-monotonic time preferences. However, these (non-risk preference) results are less conclusive once we account for multiple hypothesis testing. We do not find any evidence of significant effects of chess training on other academic outcomes, creativity, and attention/focus.

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