Working paper

Do women contribute more effort than men to a real public good?

Ingela Alger, Laura Juarez, Miriam Juarez-Torres, and Josepa Miquel-Florensa


We present evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment, conducted in eight small, rural villages in Mexico, in which subjects choose to exert real effort to fund real health centers in their own and other localities. We find that women are more willing than men to exert effort to fund the health center in another locality, relative to the one in their locality. This gender gap is mostly due to women who have some trust in the way the government spends taxes, and to women who benefit from a government program that targets women and fosters health care use. Our results also suggest that women might be aware of their higher willingness to exert effort for a public good that does not benefit them directly, compared to men, because they seem to reduce their individual effort the more female their environment is.

JEL codes

  • H41: Public Goods
  • C91: Laboratory, Individual Behavior
  • O12: Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 20-103, January 2020