Empirical Research onWomen’s Gift Giving

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From both Caplow’s and Cheal’s studies discussed in Chapter 2, it a ppears

that women are the greater givers, a finding that is corroborated

by our own research. Our results show that small but consistent gender

differences exist in the percentages ofwomen and menwho report having

given presents, food, stay, and care or help to others; as to the amount of

money gifts, women and men do not differ (see Table 4.1). The average

time spent in devising and choosing a present, whether it was bought or

made at home, was about half an hour; men take nine minutes longer

than women to find the right gift. Furthermore, men more often have

the feeling that they are giving more than they receive (49% a nd 26%, respectively).

Men experience less reciprocity in their gift exchange relationships

than women do. An interesting finding is that the discontent

about the balance of giving and receiving is greatest with those categories

of respondents who report to have given the least – men, those with less

education, and elderly people. They do indeed receive less comparedwith

the other categories of respondents, but the differencewith respect towhat

they give is not necessarily greater than it is among the other categories.

In a secondary analysis of the research data, we controlled for gender

differences in income, education, and occupational level. Women keep

giving more than men, regardless of socioeconomic differences. Also

there are no differences among women themselves: women who do not

live in a traditional family situation and women who are employed give

as much as women who have children, live with a partner, and do not

have a paid job (unpublished data).