Social context reveals gender differences in cooperative behavior
A number of previous researches indicate that men prefer competition over cooperation, and it is sometimes suggested that women show the opposite behavioral preference. In the current study the effects of social context on gender differences in cooperation are investigated. For the purpose, we compared men and women behavior under two social conditions: in groups of strangers and in groups with long-term socialization—groups of friends. The differences were found in changes in the level of cooperation, taking into account the effects of mixing social and gender variables. Social interaction and communication made cooperation of group members strength and sustainable. However, men’s and women’s cooperative behavior in groups differed. Women were initially more inclined to cooperate in interaction with strangers. Men showed greater sensitivity to sociality effects. They tended to make cooperative decisions more often if there were friends in the group. Furthermore, men cooperated with previously unknown people after socialization with them significantly more than women.
KeywordsGender differences Cooperation Social dilemma Prisoner’s dilemma Sociality Group Experiment
JEL ClassificationA13 C10 C40 C71 C91 C92
This research was supported by The Tomsk State University competitiveness improvement program. Some of the results were presented at the Fourth Workshop on Experimental Economics and Machine Learning, Dresden, Germany.
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