Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gender as a Factor Determining Declarations to Cooperate and Cooperative Behaviour among Polish Students

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gender as a Factor Determining Declarations to Cooperate and Cooperative Behaviour among Polish Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

Much research on the differences between sexes has been carried out on the basis of psychology and this has led to increased understanding of differences between the social and economic behaviour of males and females in such areas such as: altruism, aversion to injustice, consumption, investment, attitude to risk, competition and cooperation. However, there is surprisingly little research carried out by psychologists on the last of the mentioned above aspects (Balliet et al., 2011). Women are playing an ever increasing role in social, political and professional life, they are also taking an increasing number of independent decisions. This suggests that studies on the differences between the behaviour of males and females would be useful in explaining and understanding various micro- and macroeconomic phenomena.

The goal of this article is to analyse the behaviour of Polish students in the "Public Goods" (PG) game and to test whether the level of cooperation observed depends on the sex of a student. Previous studies have provided ambiguous results regarding this question. Also, this is the first such study to be carried out in one of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The declarations of students with regard to their attitudes towards cooperation and actual cooperative behaviour are also analysed. The authors also consider the factors which may influence such behaviour through socialisation or culturalisation: home region, size of a home town (less than 5 ths inhabitants, between 5 and 20 ths, between 20 and 100 ths and above 100 ths) and classification of a home town (rural, urban, metropolitan). Differences according to sex, region and size/category of a home town will be analysed.

This research was carried out on the basis of a study carried out among 1540 Polish students (between 88 and 100 in each of the 16 political regions of Poland) between April and June 2014. The students played three classical experimental games - Trust, Public Goods and Ultimatum, and also completed a questionnaire.

The first section of this paper presents the theoretical background to this research and empirical results from the previous studies in this field. Section 2 describes the experimental procedures. The third section considered the statistical tests used. Section 4 presents the results of the study based on the experimental games and questionnaire. The final section provides a discussion of the results along with the recommendations for future research.

1.Gender differences regarding cooperation: theory and previous empirical results

Gender differences, in traits and behaviour, have been the subject of many studies, including experimental studies. They show, among other things, that males are more assertive and have a higher level of self-esteem than females. On the other hand, females exhibit higher levels of extraversion, anxiety and trust, as well as being more emotional (Feingold, 1994). Males show a higher level of independence, self-confidence, assertiveness and competitiveness (agentic attributes), while females exhibit more altruism, empathy and emotional intelligence (communal attributes) (Eagly, 1987). Studies show that females give more support to their friends (Oswald et al., 2004), while males are more ready to help strangers in need (Eagly and Crowley, 1986). Females exhibit a higher level of aversion to risk (Eckel and Grossman, 2008), which may be explained by their emotionality, low levels of self-confidence and treating risk as a threat (whereas males treat it as a challenge) (after: Croson and Gneezy, 2009). There are also differences with regard to social preferences: aversion to inequality (Ockenfels and Bolton, 2000), altruism (Andreoni, 1989), norms of reciprocity (Falk and Fischbacher, 2006) and envy (Mui, 1995). There are also gender differences in the readiness to cooperate, which is the subject of this study.

Experimental results regarding the readiness of males and females to cooperate have been rather ambiguous. …

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