The Importance of Being Marginal: Gender Differences in Generosity
Do men and women have different social preferences? Previous findings are contradictory. We provide a potential explanation using evidence from a field experiment. In a door-to-door solicitation, men and women are equally generous, but women become less generous when it becomes easy to avoid the solicitor. Our structural estimates of the social preference parameters suggest an explanation: women are more likely to be on the margin of giving, partly because of a less dispersed distribution of altruism. We find similar results for the willingness to complete an unpaid survey: women are more likely to be on the margin of participation.
This paper will appear as part of the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings paper, May 2013. Many thanks to Alec Brandon, Sheng Li, David Novgorodsky, and Vera te Velde for able research assistance. We are grateful to Rachel Croson and Yan Chen as well as to seminar participants at UC Berkeley, CalTech, Chicago, and the ASSA 2013 and ESA 2012 meetings for valuable comments. Funding for this research was obtained from funds of the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2013. "The Importance of Being Marginal: Gender Differences in Generosity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 586-90, May. citation courtesy of