HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Academic Dean
Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government

Abstract

Women, and particularly women in all-female groups, appear to be especially adept at providing public goods in developing countries. We use a one-shot Public Goods game to explore the effect of sex and a group's sex composition on the voluntary provision of public goods in a Nairobi slum. Sex heterogeneity hurts the voluntary provision of public goods because women—but not men—contribute less in mixed-sex than same-sex groups. Women contribute as much as men in same-sex groups. This result is driven by women's pessimism and men's optimism about others’ contributions in mixed-sex groups rather than by gendered social preferences.

Citation

Greig, Fiona, and Iris Bohnet. "Exploring Gendered Behavior in the Field with Experiments: Why Public Goods are Provided by Women in a Nairobi Slum." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 70.1-2 (May 2009): 1-9.