Men, women approach charity differently


Sydney : Would you prefer to give money to someone needy in your neighbourhood or a needy person in a foreign country?

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If you’re a man, you’re more likely to give to the person closest to you, that is, the one in your neighbourhood, if you give at all.

If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to give, and to give equal amounts to both groups, according to research by Texas A&M University marketing professor Karen Winterich and colleagues.

Winterich said she can predict charitable behaviour to different groups by an individual based on just two factors: gender and moral identity.

Moral identity does not measure how moral a person actually is, but rather how important it is to that person to be caring, kind, fair, honest and all that.

The results of Winterich’s studies involving participants have implications for those in the fund-raising arena, said a university release.

The study examined how people responded to a need within an “ingroup” and an “outgroup”. An ingroup has an obvious connection to the potential donor, such as physical proximity or ethnicity, while the outgroup might have nothing more than humanity to relate it to the donor.

In 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 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 research will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.