Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 5 > Issue 1

Gender, Expectations, and the Price of Giving

Mary L. Rigdon, Rutgers University, Center for Cognitive Science, USA, mrigdon@rutgers.edu Adam Seth Levine, Cornell University, USA, asl22@cornell.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Mary L. Rigdon and Adam Seth Levine (2018), "Gender, Expectations, and the Price of Giving", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 5: No. 1, pp 39-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/105.00000078

Published: 26 Mar 2018
© 2018 M. L. Rigdon and A. S. Levine
 
Subjects
Behavioral Decision Making,  Experimental Economics,  Behavioral Economics
 
Keywords
JEL Codes: C91D64D91J16
AltruismPrice of givingGender differencesExpectationsExperimental economics
 

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In this article:
1. Introduction
2. Modified Dictator Game
3. Experimental Design and Procedures
4. Results
5. Conclusions
References

Abstract

A central question in the study of altruism has been whether there is a systematic gender difference in giving behavior. Many experiments, using a modified version of the dictator game, have revealed an interesting pattern: male subjects are more altruistic when the price of giving is low and female subjects are more altruistic when the price of giving is high. In the modified dictator game, however, a key variable in a person’s decision to give is what that person expects to receive. Systematic differences in those expectations may contribute to systematic differences in altruistic behavior. We show that gender differences in these expectations are, indeed, part of the larger story in exploring gender differences in altruistic giving. When expectations of receiving are endogenous, we replicate the standard finding. When expectations of receiving are uniform rather than endogenous, gender differences in price sensitivity disappear: male and female dictators give equal amounts regardless of the relative price of giving. This suggests that gender differences in expectations about others’ giving are part of the larger pattern of giving behavior.

DOI:10.1561/105.00000078