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A theory of gender differences in parental altruism

Author

Listed:
  • Mukesh Eswaran
  • Ashok Kotwal

Abstract

We offer a theory of gender differences in parental altruism based on the asymmetry that female fertility is constrained but male fertility is relatively unconstrained. Modelling human preferences as having been shaped during the Pleistocene, we derive evolutionarily stable, co-evolved male and female preferences for altruism towards one's children. We demonstrate that there would be gender differences in parental altruism that depend on the relative abundance or scarcity of resources and the importance and substitutability of parental inputs in promoting the survival of offspring. The results point to greater altruism in females, under plausible conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mukesh Eswaran & Ashok Kotwal, 2004. "A theory of gender differences in parental altruism," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 918-950, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:37:y:2004:i:4:p:918-950
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. De Fraja, Gianni, 2006. "The Origin of Utility," CEPR Discussion Papers 5859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Masahiro Hori & Nahoko Mitsuyama & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2016. "New Evidence on Intra-Household Allocation of Resources in Japanese Households," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 77-95, March.
    3. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
    4. Phipps, Shelley & Woolley, Frances, 2008. "Control over money and the savings decisions of Canadian households," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 592-611, April.
    5. De Fraja, Gianni, 2009. "The origin of utility: Sexual selection and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 51-69, October.
    6. Bruno S. Frey & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2011. "Behavior under Extreme Conditions: The Titanic Disaster," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 209-222, Winter.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Surviving the Titanic Disaster: Economic, Natural and Social Determinants," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 245, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    8. Charlotte Ringdal & Hoem Sjursen, 2017. "Household bargaining and spending on children: Experimental evidence from Tanzania," WIDER Working Paper Series 128, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Ringdal, Charlotte & Sjursen, Ingrid Hoem, 2017. "Household bargaining and spending on children: Experimental evidence from Tanzania," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 19/2017, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    10. Kuku, Oluyemisi & Gundersen, Craig & Garasky, Steven, 2011. "Differences in food insecurity between adults and children in Zimbabwe," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 311-317, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • P46 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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