Male, Female, or No Comment? Gender Information Disclosure in Trusting and Reciprocating
38 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2021 Last revised: 2 Aug 2021
Date Written: November 30, 2020
When interacting with others, individuals are often known to adjust their behavior based on the gender characteristics of the other person. Information about another person’s gender tends to influence both behavior towards that individual, as well as expectations about that individual’s behavior in return. However, as many societies around the world become increasingly interested in gender equality, what are the potential effects of introducing a gender-blind option? In this study, we examine the effect of gender and gender information disclosure, on decisions about giving and reciprocating, in a laboratory experiment. Treatments vary by the type of reciprocity examined (direct, indirect) and information conditions (no information, imposed information, self-disclosed information). Direct reciprocity combined with imposed gender information generates the highest initial offers. In addition, we find that choosing to conceal one’s own gender information in the self-disclosed condition was penalized by peers via lower first stage offers from both males and females. Experience with the game generally widens the gender gap in offers made, even though players are largely similar in their level of trustworthiness. Finally, we find evidence that subjects in the self-disclosure condition attempt to reveal or conceal their gender information strategically, exhibiting experimentation following a low offer received. These findings contain implications for the design of gender information policies in various settings.
Keywords: Trust, Reciprocity, Gender, Information Disclosure
JEL Classification: J16, C91, D83, D91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation