Gender and Social Preferences in the US: An Experimental Study
This contribution provides evidence that social preferences differ by gender among United States college students. Tracking within-person choices over ten dictator exercises in which individuals choose one of three allocations of money between themselves and two other participants, this study precisely maps social preference types and identifies consistency of preferences within groups of roughly two-thirds of participants. Contrary to previous studies that identify a dominant social preference, this study' rigorous identification system reveals that other-regarding individuals are heterogeneous and almost evenly split between inequity aversion and social surplus maximization. But, even among individuals raised in a culture that stresses equal opportunity, there are gender differences. Women are substantially more likely than men to be inequity averters and less likely to be social surplus maximizers. However, a large majority of participants, both men and women, choose allocations consistent with compassion for the least well off.
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Volume (Year): 18 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
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