We study behavioral differences across and within genders in a family of ultimatum and dictator games. We find these differences are due not only to altruistic preferences but also beliefs about the strategic behavior of others. The behavior of men in strategic situations is not significantly more aggressive than women on average. But this average masks wide variation in intra-gender behavior. In particular, a sizable minority of males are “mice,” behaving timidly in strategic environments. Our experimental design shows that the standard ultimatum game can mask significant inter- and intra-gender differences in strategic behavior. These behavioral patterns in strategic environments are shown to be correlated with preferences for altruism in non-strategic settings. Such gender differences could well manifest themselves in real-world large-stakes transactions, such as salary negotiations.
Games and Economic Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2008
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