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Male-female giving differentials: are women more altruistic?


  • Walter O. Simmons
  • Rosemarie Emanuele


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to offer two empirical analyses of differences in the donations of money and time between males and females based on the impact of identical variables on the donation of money and time. Analysis was made of not only how a person's giving patterns are determined for both sexes, but also what portion of differences in giving patterns can be explained by observable and unobservable characteristics between men and women. Design/methodology/approach - The US dataset Findings - It was found that, on average, women are predicted to donate more of both money and time. Variables affecting money donations are significant and robust for both males and females, whereas the variation in time donation is poorly explained by the same variables. A substantial portion of the money and time donation differential gap (over 85 percent in time donation) is unexplained by mean levels of characteristics such as, wage, age and experience. Practical implications - While the issue of whether altruism is innate or the product of socialization is not addressed, these results imply that women bring an extra willingness to give and to volunteer than do men. As women gain economic power in the marketplace, this may result in even more giving and volunteering, creating a windfall to organizations that rely on such donations. Originality/value - Organizations that rely on women for donations of time and money may find these results interesting. They imply that women are motivated by forces not easily captured by a traditional wage equation, especially when looking at donations of time.

Suggested Citation

  • Walter O. Simmons & Rosemarie Emanuele, 2007. "Male-female giving differentials: are women more altruistic?," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(6), pages 534-550, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:34:y:2007:i:6:p:534-550

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcus Dittrich & Bianka Mey, 2015. "Gender differences in volunteer activities: Evidence from German survey data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 349-360.
    2. Florence Neymotin, 2016. "Individuals and Communities: the Importance of Neighbors Volunteering," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 149-178, June.
    3. Wagner, N. & Rieger, M. & Bedi, A.S. & Hout, W., 2016. "Are women better police officers? Evidence from survey experiments in Uganda," ISS Working Papers - General Series 615, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    4. Nelson, Katherine M. & Schlüter, Achim & Vance, Colin, 2017. "Distributional preferences and donation behavior among marine resource users in Wakatobi, Indonesia," Ruhr Economic Papers 690, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Miwa Nakai & Tomonori Honda & Nariaki Nishino & Kenji Takeuchi, 2013. "An Experimental Study on Motivations for Socially Responsible Investment," Discussion Papers 1314, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    6. Rigdon, Mary L. & Levine, Adam Seth, 2009. "The Role of Expectations and Gender in Altruism," MPRA Paper 19372, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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