Young teens at play: Girls are egalitarian, boys are generous


Using the decisions of 2,500 girls and boys in three mini dictator games, this paper investigates how the social preferences of five cohorts of students (aged 12 to 16) evolve throughout adolescence. We find that at early ages (12 years old, 7th grade), girlstend to be egalitarian, boys are more generous, and less than 10% exhibit spiteful behaviour – with equal representation of girls and boys. The gender gap in both strong egalitarianism (with girls showing more egali- tarianism) and weak generosity (with boys being more generous) doesn’t seem to fade as they grow older.

Keywords: Adolescents, Developmental decision-making, economic preferences, Field Experiments, gender, mini dictator games, Teenagers