The relative price of fairness: Gender differences in a punishment game

Catherine C. Eckel, Philip J. Grossman

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Ideas of fairness influence economic transactions. Men and women may differ systematically in the nature and extent of this influence. We investigate gender differences in the impact of fairness on the outcome of economic transactions. In our "punishment game," subjects may choose to split a larger pie with a "bad" partner, or a smaller pie with a "good" partner. We find that a higher relative price for fairness reduces its effect on the outcome of the transaction for women, but not for men. Our interpretation of this result is that men are more likely than women to make decisions on principle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1996


  • Dictator game
  • Fairness
  • Gender

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