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Relationship of Gender Differences in Preferences to Economic Development and Gender Equality


  • Falk, Armin

    () (briq, University of Bonn)

  • Hermle, Johannes

    () (University of California, Berkeley)


Preferences - concerning time, risk and social interactions - systematically shape human behavior, and contribute to differential economic and social outcomes between the genders. Here, we present a global investigation of gender differences in six fundamental preferences. Our data consist of 80,000 individuals in 76 representative country samples with measures on willingness to take risks, patience, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity as well as trust. Gender differences in preferences were positively related to economic development and gender equality. This suggests that greater availability of and equal access to material and social resources for both genders favor the manifestation of gender-differentiated preferences across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Falk, Armin & Hermle, Johannes, 2018. "Relationship of Gender Differences in Preferences to Economic Development and Gender Equality," IZA Discussion Papers 12059, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12059

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas DeLeire & Helen Levy, 2004. "Worker Sorting and the Risk of Death on the Job," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 925-954, October.
    2. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerard J. Van den Berg & Iris Kesternich & Gerrit Müller & Bettina Siflinger, 2019. "Reciprocity and the Interaction between the Unemployed and the Caseworker," CESifo Working Paper Series 7947, CESifo.
    2. Ingvild Almås & Alexander W. Cappelen & Bertil Tungodden, 2020. "Cutthroat Capitalism versus Cuddly Socialism: Are Americans More Meritocratic and Efficiency-Seeking than Scandinavians?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(5), pages 1753-1788.
    3. Klasen, Stephan, 2020. "From ‘MeToo’ to Boko Haram: A survey of levels and trends of gender inequality in the world," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    4. Kuhn, Andreas & Wolter, Stefan C., 2020. "Things versus People: Gender Differences in Vocational Interests and in Occupational Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 13380, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Yannick V. Markhof, 2020. "Divide to Conquer? Latent Preference Types and Country-level Heterogeneity," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-05, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Burbano, Vanessa & Padilla, Nicolas & Meier, Stephan, 2020. "Gender Differences in Preferences for Meaning at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 13053, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Arpita Patnaik & Joanna Venator & Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2020. "The Role of Heterogeneous Risk Preferences, Discount Rates, and Earnings Expectations in College Major Choice," NBER Working Papers 26785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Friedman-Sokuler, Naomi & Justman, Moshe, 2020. "Gender, culture and STEM: Counter-intuitive patterns in Arab society," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    9. Cotofan, Maria & Cassar, Lea & Dur, Robert & Meier, Stephan, 2020. "Macroeconomic Conditions When Young Shape Job Preferences for Life," IZA Discussion Papers 13123, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Bauer, Michal & Chytilová, Julie & Miguel, Edward, 2020. "Using survey questions to measure preferences: Lessons from an experimental validation in Kenya," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    11. Schmid, Lena & Renner, Laura, 2020. "The Decision to Flee: Analyzing Gender-Specific Determinants of International Refugee Migration," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224596, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Stoet, Gijsbert & Geary, David C., 2020. "Sex-specific academic ability and attitude patterns in students across developed countries," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    13. Jennifer Robson & Johanna Peetz, 2020. "Gender differences in financial knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors: Accounting for socioeconomic disparities and psychological traits," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 813-835, September.
    14. Almås, Ingvild & Berge, Lars Ivar & Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Somville, Vincent & Tungodden, Bertil, 2020. "Adverse selection into competition: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment in Tanzania," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 19/2020, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    15. Kampkötter, Patrick & Petters, Lea & Sliwka, Dirk, 2020. "Employee Identification and Wages: On the Economics of "Affective Commitment"," IZA Discussion Papers 13624, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Piotr Lewandowski & Zuzanna Kowalik, 2020. "The gender gap in aversion to COVID-19 exposure: evidence from professional tennis," IBS Working Papers 09/2020, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    17. Zuazu-Bermejo, Izaskun, 2020. "Graduates’ opium? Cultural values, religiosity and gender segregation by field of study," OSF Preprints yn23j, Center for Open Science.
    18. Rinne, Ulf & Sonnabend, Hendrik, 2019. "Female Workers, Male Managers: Gender, Leadership, and Risk-Taking," IZA Discussion Papers 12726, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Borgonovi, Francesca & Greiff, Samuel, 2020. "Societal level gender inequalities amplify gender gaps in problem solving more than in academic disciplines," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    20. David W. Martin, 2019. "Gender Concerns When Noah the Economist Ranks Biodiversity Protection Policies," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-1, October.

    More about this item


    gender; cross-country variation; preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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