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Do men really have no shame?

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  • Abigail Barr
  • Bill Kinsey

Abstract

Microfinance is one of the most commonly applied development interventions of our time. It is also one of the most gender-biased. In part, this is due to targeting. However, it might also relate to the emphasis placed by microfinance providers on group-loans. If women have a comparative advantage when it comes to functioning in groups, they might self-select into microfinance provided as group loans, while men seek alternative sources of credit. This paper explores the possibility that such a comparative advantage exists and that it relates to women’s greater propensity to feel shame and/or induce feelings of shame in others. It uses data derived from an economic experiment conducted in 12 Zimbabwean villages to test a series of hypotheses. The findings suggest that men regard others less than women when deciding how to behave; that, even after controlling for this, they are more likely to attract criticism; and that they are no less responsive than women to such shame-inducing, social sanctioning. Finally, while men are no more inclined to sanction others they are less effective than women at effecting a resultant improvement in behaviour.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2002-05.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2002-05

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  1. Goetz, Anne Marie & Gupta, Rina Sen, 1996. "Who takes the credit? Gender, power, and control over loan use in rural credit programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-63, January.
  2. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate & Glenn Loury, 1992. "The Economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 24, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  5. Mason, Charles F. & Phillips, Owen R. & Redington, Douglas B., 1991. "The role of gender in a non-cooperative game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 215-235, March.
  6. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  7. Wydick, Bruce, 1999. "Can Social Cohesion Be Harnessed to Repair Market Failures? Evidence from Group Lending in Guatemala," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 463-75, July.
  8. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  9. Dekker, Marleen, 2004. "Sustainability and Resourcefulness: Support Networks During Periods of Stress," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1735-1751, October.
  10. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
  11. Brown-Kruse, Jamie & Hummels, David, 1993. "Gender effects in laboratory public goods contribution : Do individuals put their money where their mouth is?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 255-267, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Xavier Gin� & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "Microfinance Games," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 60-95, July.
  2. V. Pelligra, 2005. "Banking with sentiments. A model of fiduciary interactions in micro-credit programs," Working Paper CRENoS, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia 200503, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  3. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey P. Carpenter, 2005. "Experiments and Economic Development: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Middlebury College Working Paper Series, Middlebury College, Department of Economics 0505, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  4. Jeffery Carpenter & Juan Camilo Cardenas, 2006. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from field labs in the developing world," Middlebury College Working Paper Series, Middlebury College, Department of Economics 0616, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  5. Klaus Abbink & Matthew Ellman, 2005. "The Donor Problem," Working Papers, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics 151, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Greig, Fiona & Bohnet, Iris, 2009. "Exploring gendered behavior in the field with experiments: Why public goods are provided by women in a Nairobi slum," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 1-9, May.

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