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Do Women Behave Less or More Prosocially than Men?


  • Stephan Meier

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Massachusetts)


The behavior of others and the price of giving are two important determinants of contributions to public goods. Using two field experiments, this article tests whether men and women differ in their reactions to either a change in the average behavior of the group or a change in the price of giving, that is, a contribution-matching mechanism. The results of the field experiments show that men and women do not differ in their reactions to a matching mechanism. However, substantial gender differences can be detected with respect to social comparison. Men tend to align their behavior with the average behavior of the group, whereas women seem to be insensitive to information about group behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Meier, 2007. "Do Women Behave Less or More Prosocially than Men?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(2), pages 215-232, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:35:y:2007:i:2:p:215-232

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    Cited by:

    1. Linda Kamas & Anne Preston & Sandy Baum, 2008. "Altruism in individual and joint-giving decisions: What's gender got to do with it?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 23-50.
    2. Anastasios Koukoumelis & M. Vittoria Levati & Matteo Ploner, 2013. "The effect of identifiability on the relationship between risk attitudes and other-regarding concerns," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-028, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. repec:esx:essedp:762 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:bri:cmpowp:14/336 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christian Keller & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener & Michael Sanders, 2015. "Giving and Probability," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 15/336, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
    6. Fišar, Miloš & Kubák, Matúš & Špalek, Jiři & Tremewan, James, 2016. "Gender differences in beliefs and actions in a framed corruption experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 69-82.
    7. Christian Kellner & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2017. "Conditional generosity and uncertain income: Evidence from five experiments," Discussion Papers 1707, University of Exeter, Department of Economics.


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