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Mating Strategies and Gender Differences in Pro-sociality: Theory and Evidence

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  • Xiaofei Pan
  • Daniel Houser

Abstract

This article examines gender differences in pro-sociality using theories from evolutionary psychology and empirical evidence from experimental economics. Although there has been extensive prior research in both fields, there remains a large disconnect between the source of gender differences in pro-sociality and experimental research aimed at informing cooperation and generosity. Thus, the main contribution of our article is to bridge this gap by arguing that differences in male and female motives for pro-sociality stem, at least in part, from gender differences in mating strategies. In particular, we discuss gender differences in: (i) signaling behaviors; (ii) conformance to social norms; and (iii) approaches toward resolving intra- and inter-group dilemmas. This article may be a useful resource for those hoping to gain a better understanding of the foundations of gender differences in pro-sociality; likewise, it draws useful attention to empirical research aimed at promoting charitable giving and enhancing resource allocation efficiency. (JEL codes: D03, D64) Copyright The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaofei Pan & Daniel Houser, 2011. "Mating Strategies and Gender Differences in Pro-sociality: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(4), pages 653-682, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:653-682
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/ifr020
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Caliendo & Frank M. Fossen & Alexander Kritikos & Miriam Wetter, 2015. "The Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship: Not just a Matter of Personality," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 202-238.
    2. Anne-Kathrin Bronsert & Amihai Glazer & Kai A. Konrad, 2017. "Old money, the nouveaux riches and Brunhilde’s marriage strategy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 163-186, January.
    3. Dimitrova-Grajzl Valentina & Grajzl Peter & Guse A. Joseph & Smith J. Taylor, 2016. "Racial Group Affinity and Religious Giving: Evidence from Congregation-Level Panel Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 689-725, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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