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Male‐female giving differentials: are women more altruistic?

Walter O. Simmons (Boler School of Business, John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio, USA)
Rosemarie Emanuele (Department of Mathematics, Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 6 November 2007




The purpose of this paper is to offer two empirical analyses of differences in the donations of money and time between males and females based on the impact of identical variables on the donation of money and time. Analysis was made of not only how a person's giving patterns are determined for both sexes, but also what portion of differences in giving patterns can be explained by observable and unobservable characteristics between men and women.


The US dataset Giving and Volunteering 1999 was used in the study.


It was found that, on average, women are predicted to donate more of both money and time. Variables affecting money donations are significant and robust for both males and females, whereas the variation in time donation is poorly explained by the same variables. A substantial portion of the money and time donation differential gap (over 85 percent in time donation) is unexplained by mean levels of characteristics such as, wage, age and experience.

Practical implications

While the issue of whether altruism is innate or the product of socialization is not addressed, these results imply that women bring an extra willingness to give and to volunteer than do men. As women gain economic power in the marketplace, this may result in even more giving and volunteering, creating a windfall to organizations that rely on such donations.


Organizations that rely on women for donations of time and money may find these results interesting. They imply that women are motivated by forces not easily captured by a traditional wage equation, especially when looking at donations of time.



Simmons, W.O. and Emanuele, R. (2007), "Male‐female giving differentials: are women more altruistic?", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 534-550.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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