Journal of the Economic Science Association

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 110–122 | Cite as

Gender differences in giving in the Dictator Game: the role of reluctant altruism

  • David KlinowskiEmail author
Original Paper


The Dictator Game has been a helpful tool to study whether men or women are more generous. But recent work suggests that motivations other than generosity also influence behavior in this game. Image concerns and expectations management may cause dictators to “give reluctantly”; that is, to share money with the recipient if asked to, but to renege on their gifts if they can do so without being detected. We provide evidence from two separate experiments that females are more likely than males to give reluctantly in the Dictator Game. After accounting for retraction of gifts, males and females transfer similar amounts to the recipient in expectation. The results suggest that gender differences in non-payoff-related motivations may play a role in producing gender differences in giving in the Dictator Game.


Gender Dictator Game Reluctant altruism 

JEL codes

C91 J16 D64 

Supplementary material

40881_2018_58_MOESM1_ESM.docx (67.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 68662 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Santiago Centre for Experimental Social SciencesNuffield College, University of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Universidad de Santiago de ChileSantiagoChile

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