Trust and Trustworthiness: A Survey of Gender Differences

Psychology of Gender Differences, Forthcoming

22 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2011 Last revised: 19 Nov 2011

See all articles by Holger Andreas Rau

Holger Andreas Rau

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Date Written: November 13, 2011


This article reviews papers about gender differences in trust and reciprocity. The literature about experimental trust games finds striking gender differences in participants' reciprocal behavior. Most papers report that female first movers in trust games trust less than male ones. In trust games there is ample evidence that female second movers are more trustworthy than male ones. Interestingly it can be found that reciprocal behavior of female decision makers is stronger in the environment of a real-effort task. The results of gift-exchange gender studies document that female workers' are discriminated in the laboratory and receive smaller wages than men in a double-auction market. In general there is a tendency in trust games that men trust more than women and women are more trustworthy than men. A real-effort task furthermore amplifies these results. In gift-exchange games it can be found that female principals show higher levels of reciprocity and female workers receive lower wages in some setups.

Keywords: gender differences, trust, reciprocity

JEL Classification: C71, C72, J160

Suggested Citation

Rau, Holger Andreas, Trust and Trustworthiness: A Survey of Gender Differences (November 13, 2011). Psychology of Gender Differences, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Holger Andreas Rau (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073

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