Are there gender differences in giving? If you ask a woman student next to you for some help on a test, will they give it to you? Do they give more to the homeless people on Telegraph?
A recent study conducted by Berkeley economists suggests that yes, in those situations, they would be more likely to give.
When it comes to asking for supplies, we would suggest from anecdotal experience that women would be more prepared and thus more likely give you their extra blue book or pencil. And the pencils are often kept in those cute little tins. Organization!
But the role of social pressure is an important caveat. When asking a woman in person — such as on Telegraph or other streets of Berkeley — that social pressure is often the push that gives women the greater likelihood to give, though we doubt being shoved and yelled at like we sometimes are on Telegraph makes any difference between the genders. Oh, Telegraph, you’re so lovely to walk down.
According to the study, this is because women are more likely on the margin of giving. We take this to mean that men are rather unaffected by face-to-face contact when it comes to charity — either they’re going to give or they’re not. No personal appeals necessary. Show him a starving kid and that man will stubbornly upturn his nose and hold out his hand saying, “Sorry, heh, social pressure doesn’t work on my kind.” Then he’ll animorph into a snake and slither up his drainpipe. Science!
On the other hand, when women were given the option to avoid the social pressure, they avoided it with greater frequency than men.
So under social pressure, women give more; with the ability to avoid it, men give more.
There is more research to be done, however — the article mentions the many contradictory findings of other studies on the generosity of men and women. We look forward to hearing more about the likelihood of people turning into animo — er, giving to charity.
Contact Erik Swan at [email protected]
Image source: Tax Credits under Creative Commons.