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The widow's offering: Inheritance, family structure, and the charitable gifts of women

  • McGranahan, Leslie
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    Researchers and commentators have compared men and women's charitable giving patterns and have concluded that one sex was more generous than the other. Most research based on modern data has found women to be more philanthropic than men. In this article, I compare charitable donations of unmarried men and women in a sample of wills from 17th Century England. I find that men are more likely to make donations than women and make larger average donations. This difference in giving can be explained by differences in wealth and family structure and should not be ascribed to differences in charitable impulses.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WFJ-4W3PT7F-1/2/c3692a8d5de4423c27c290809fc6dbec
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 356-367

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:3:p:356-367
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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    1. James Andreoni & Eleanor Brown & Isaac Rischall, 2003. "Charitable Giving by Married Couples Who Decides and Why Does it Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    2. Clark, Gregory & Hamilton, Gillian, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 707-736, September.
    3. Leslie Moscow McGranahan, 2000. "Charity and the Bequest Motive: Evidence from Seventeenth-Century Wills," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1270-1291, December.
    4. Andreoni,J. & Vesterlund,L., 1998. "Which is the fair sex? : Gender differences in altruism," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    5. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
    6. Rooney, Patrick M. & Mesch, Debra J. & Chin, William & Steinberg, Kathryn S., 2005. "The effects of race, gender, and survey methodologies on giving in the US," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 173-180, February.
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