Altruism towards panhandlers: Who gives?
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This study investigates an example of human altruism which is neither kin-directed nor reciprocal: giving to a panhandler. Data were collected on the proportions of passers-by who gave to panhandlers in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Three hypotheses were tested, each predicting that passers-by should behave “selfishly,” capitalizing on opportunities that, in an evolutionarily appropriate context, could increase mating success. Male passers-by, when alone, gave disproportionately to female panhandlers. Male passers-by, when in the company of a female partner, disproportionately avoided giving to female panhandlers. Male passers-by in the company of a female partner did not “show off” by giving disproportionately to male panhandlers.
Key wordsAltruism Panhandling Sex differences
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