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

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  • McGranahan, Leslie

Abstract

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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  • McGranahan, Leslie, 2009. "The widow's offering: Inheritance, family structure, and the charitable gifts of women," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 356-367, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:3:p:356-367
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    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 726-735, May.
    6. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    7. 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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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Livio Di Matteo, 2016. "Wealth Distribution and the Canadian Middle Class: Historical Evidence and Policy Implications," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 42(2), pages 132-151, June.
    3. Di Matteo, Livio, 2013. "Women, wealth and economic change: An assessment of the impact of women's property law in Wentworth County, Ontario, 1872–1927," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 285-307.

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