Why do people take risks, and what is their attitude towards winning and losing? According to Professor Jani Saastamoinen, the gambling market offers a near-natural experimental setting for research into risk-based decision-making.
Gambling research provides insight into risk-taking behaviour on the markets
Finland’s unique and extensive sets of register-based data provide researchers with the opportunity to explore people’s risk-taking behaviour in a genuine market environment. By combining data from population registers with data on horse race betting available from gambling companies, and with data on psychological tests available from the Finnish Defence Forces, researchers have gained new insight into, e.g., the association of mathematical intelligence and personality traits with individuals’ gambling behaviour.
“People working in companies make decisions and take risks, so gambling research is more broadly linked to research into risk-based decision-making. By studying the gambling market, we can test theories of economics that explain how individuals react to winning and losing, for example,” Saastamoinen says.
Research has societal significance
This October, Saastamoinen was appointed as Professor of Business Studies at the University of Eastern Finland Business School, in the accounting and business law subject. In particular, he is involved with applied research where phenomena relating to businesses, markets and regulation are examined from a quantitative perspective. Close collaboration with researchers from different fields has led him to a range of research themes.
Saastamoinen’s various projects have focused, among other things, on the quality of municipal auditing and Finland’s well-being services counties’ financial reporting, as well as on how to promote the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in public calls for tender, and how to enhance innovation through public procurement. The results have societal significance.
“It helps simply to raise awareness. When it comes to public procurement, for example, it is important for SMEs to know that they can submit tenders and get their foot in the door of public sector procurement. However, the public sector, too, must play its part and actively reach out to SMEs. Indeed, some municipalities have hired procurement advisors.”
Deeper collaboration in business studies
Saastamoinen obtained his Doctor of Economics and Business Administration degree from the University of Eastern Finland in 2010. Since then, he has worked in various teaching and research roles at the Business School. Originally a student of history in Joensuu, Saastamoinen wrote his Master’s thesis on the history of the United States. His interest in economic phenomena was lit by an economics course he took during his studies.
Saastamoinen is inspired by the diversity of research in business studies. In his research, he often tries to find ways to integrate methods or models from other fields into business research.
“For instance, many fields have their own, established statistical methods, and it is interesting to consider how they could be applied in my field. This will gradually spread methods from one field to another.”
At the University of Eastern Finland, education and research in business studies is carried out on two campuses, in Joensuu and in Kuopio. According to Saastamoinen, collaboration between the two campuses has deepened over the years, and their profiles have become clearer.
“More and more research is being conducted, and our involvement in international collaboration is also increasing. We have a good work community, thanks to our supervisors. We have been given academic freedom, allowing us researchers to try out new things and carry out interesting research.”
For further information, please contact: https://uefconnect.uef.fi/en/person/jani.saastamoinen/
Professor of Business Economics, University of Eastern Finland, 1 October 2022–
Doctor of Economics and Business Administration, University of Eastern Finland, 2010
Master of Social Sciences, University of Joensuu, 2002
Master of Arts, University of Joensuu, 2000
Associate Professor, University of Eastern Finland, 2019–2022
University Lecturer, University of Eastern Finland, 2015–2018
Project Manager, University of Eastern Finland, 2014–2017
Project Manager/Project Researcher, University of Eastern Finland, 2012–2015
Photos of Jani Saastamoinen: