Different Strokes for Different Folks: Gender and Emotions in an Environmental Game

  •  Marianna Khachaturyan    
  •  Natalia Czap    


Females are often expected to behave more environmentally-friendly than males, to be more sensitive to nuances in wording/framing, to be more emotionally expressive, and to be more likely to act on these emotions. Do they actually behave according to these expectations? Previous research found mixed evidence on gender effects. The purpose of our study is to examine whether there are gender differences in reaction to framing, expressing of emotions and acting in response to emotions in the environmental context and to determine whether these differences (if present) follow the “stereotypical” expectations. To investigate this, we conducted a framed laboratory experiment in the water quality context. Our findings show that there is a gender effect and it is highly context-dependent with respect to environmental decisions and with respect to the likelihood of expression of positive and negative emotions. Furthermore, we find that females sharing behavior is not sensitive to empathy vs. self-interest framing, while males sharing behavior is. Our results indicate that the payoff-relevant factors are, generally, more important than gender. We conclude that males and females are responding to different stimuli (“different strokes for different folks”), thus empirically testing behavior in a specific context is paramount when trying to predict responses by gender and designing environmental policies.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.