Experimental Economics

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 490-506

First online:

Heterogeneous preferences for altruism: gender and personality, social status, giving and taking

  • Michael S. VisserAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Sonoma State University Email author 
  • , Matthew R. RoelofsAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Western Washington University

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Some of the earliest work on heterogeneity in social preferences focuses on gender differences in behavior. The source of these gender differences is the main interest of this paper. We report on dictator game experiments designed to identify heterogeneity of other-regarding preferences according to personality, gender, status, and whether the choice is framed as giving or taking. We find that the effect of gender on giving is more subtle than previously understood, and is explained collectively by various personality factors. We also find that women, high status treatment individuals, and individuals in the giving language treatment give less, and are also less sensitive to the price of giving.


Altruism Status Gender Framing effects Personality

JEL Classification

A13 C91 D01 D63 D64