Women and men differ in their charitable giving

A study that will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research concludes that one sex is much more likely than the other to give to local causes, such as Katrina victims (“ingroups”), as compared to overseas ones, such as Indian Ocean tsumani victims (“outgroups”). Also, a person’s moral identity–that is, how important fairness and generosity is to that person, which is not necessarily reflected in that person’s own behavior–dictates where his or her charity dollars will go.
Any guesses as to which sex does what? According to the study:

[I]f you’re a man, you’re more likely to give to the person closest to you–that is, the one in your neighborhood–if you give at all.
If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to give–and to give equal amounts to both groups.
n the study, participants completed a survey to gauge their moral identity. Later, each was given five $1 bills and three options: keep the cash, give it to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund, or give it to a relief fund for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
The results were very consistent. Women with higher moral identity were more likely to split their dollars evenly between the two charities. Women with lower moral identities gave more to the ingroup (Katrina victims).
Men with high moral identities gave to the ingroup, but seldom to the outgroup (tsunami victims). Men with low moral identities pocketed the cash.

The researchers were also pleasantly surprised at how likely people on the whole were to give, period. Then again, anyone can be generous with money that isn’t really theirs.
For my part, I donated fairly heavily (by my standards) to the American Red Cross after Katrina and have donated here and there to other domestic causes, but in spite of all of the heart-rending TV commercials about sick and hungry children in Africa and Asia, I have never donated to a charity benefiting people overseas. I can’t say this has been a conscious move, but in any event, I as a single data point appear to suport, or conform to, the results of this study.

  1. #1 by Becca on December 19, 2008 - 5:25 pm

    Then again, anyone can be generous with money that isn’t really theirs.
    If you get to pocket the money, it is really yours (unless you are just using that “I wasn’t counting on this money” rationalization as a prod to get yourself to donate it).
    I like donating to outgroups more. Somehow, microfinance loans and bed nets to prevent malaria seem like they should be more efficient than e.g. Katrina relief. Something about the idea that $10 here is (relatively) a lot of money there.
    I wish we had some data on the donor’s choose donations. It seemed like there were motivations that applied to both the ingroups and outgroups among sciencebloggers (irrespective of gender), but maybe that’s a special case.

  2. #2 by Obbop on December 19, 2008 - 9:05 pm

    Women are neither equal nor different to men – they are inferior. Women rarely if ever organize themselves effectively because they are unable to think logically.
    A woman has the form of an angel, the heart of a serpent, and the mind of an ass.
    Women are not half as sensitive about their sins as about their follies.
    If all men told the truth the tears of women would create another flood.
    Where neither love nor hatred is in the game a woman is a mediocre player.
    Women for the most part do not love us. They do not choose a man because they love him, but because it pleases them to be loved by him.
    Women have no sympathy . . . And my experience of women is almost as large as Europe. And it is so intimate too. Women crave for being loved, not for loving. They scream at you for sympathy all day long, they are incapable of giving any in return for they cannot remember your affairs long enough to do so. – [Florence Nightingdale]
    A woman rarely discards one lover until she is sure of another.
    Woman’s dearest delight is to wound man’s self-conceit, though man’s dearest delight is to gratify hers. There is at least one creature lower than man.
    Democracy is woman’s greatest invention. Indeed, it even reflects her character: purposeless, irrational, subject to public opinion and passing fashions, rambling, confused, underhanded, scheming, in love with its own purity.
    I shrug my shoulders in despair at women who moan at the lack of opportunities and then take two weeks off as a result of falling out with their boyfriends.
    No wonder women live longer than men – look how long they remain girls.
    To find fault with a woman’s intellect you must first find her intellect.
    It takes two to make a woman into a sex object.
    Nature intended women to be our slaves; . . . they are our property, we are not theirs. They belong to us, just as a tree that bears fruit belongs to the gardener. What a mad idea to demand equality for women! . . . Women are nothing but machines for producing children. – [Napoleon Bonaparte]
    No woman ever found a rich man ugly.
    There are women who offer their bodies as though they were bestowing some inestimable gift upon you.

  3. #3 by Kevin Beck on December 19, 2008 - 9:16 pm

    I insist only on correcting this, as it burns my editor’s eyes:
    “Women are neither equal nor different to men…”
    If this is a rant you uncork in its entirety in various places, as I suspect, then you should change the intro to
    “Women are neither equal to nor different from men…”
    As for the rest of it–not what I expected, but I suppose it takes all kinds. And I admit to laughing a little.

  4. #4 by Notagod on December 20, 2008 - 12:27 am

    Not so much a prod for me as an opportunity to give without worrying if the money will go to those in need or to a highly paid executive’s salary. Somehow with the “free” money it doesn’t seem as difficult to be obliged to pay the wealthy in order to give to the poor. Or worse, if some religious group had gotten the contribution and used it for prayer expenses. I would have directed the five dollar donation to an outgroup for reasons similar to what Becca expressed in the comment above.
    In real life I probably give more in time and effort donations, so that by necessity, tends to support ingroups. However, my strictly monetary donations often go to support a worldwide organization. Wish I could help all the people and animals (plants and trees too!) that need and deserve more than they have.
    Gender: Male

  5. #5 by jimmy on December 20, 2008 - 12:45 am

    Another male data point: I tend to give to very local causes: food banks in the city I live in, the nearby Children’s Hospital, local schools’ donation drives, etc. Mostly I prefer these causes because it means I can give time as well as money, and because it makes it easier for me to confirm that the money is going to the cause instead of administration when I can see the results close-up.
    The big causes (Katrina, tsunami, etc) tend not to get much in the way of donations because I have my charitable donations each year budgeted pretty tightly. I try to throw a few dollars their way when I can, but I won’t lower donations to a local cause I believe in to do it.

%d bloggers like this: