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Gender differences in the trade-off between objective equality and efficiency

Valerio Capraro

Judgment and Decision Making, 2020, vol. 15, issue 4, 534-544

Abstract: Generations of social scientists have explored whether males and females act differently in domains involving competition, risk taking, cooperation, altruism, honesty, as well as many others. Yet, little is known about gender differences in the trade-off between objective equality (i.e., equality of outcomes) and efficiency. It has been suggested that females are more equal than males, but the empirical evidence is relatively weak. This gap is particularly important, because people in power of redistributing resources often face a conflict between equality and efficiency. The recently introduced Trade-Off Game (TOG) – in which a decision-maker has to unilaterally choose between being equal or being efficient – offers a unique opportunity to fill this gap. To this end, I analyse gender differences on a large dataset including N=6,955 TOG decisions. The results show that females prefer objective equality over efficiency to a greater extent than males do. The effect turns out to be particularly strong when the TOG available options are “morally†framed in such a way to suggest that choosing the equal option is the right thing to do.

Keywords: trade-off game; gender; equality; efficiency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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