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Paternalism Preferences: Differences Across Genders


Sainz Villalba,  Carmen
Public Economics, MPI for Tax Law and Public Finance, Max Planck Society;

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Sainz Villalba, C. (2023). Paternalism Preferences: Differences Across Genders. Working Paper of the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, No. 2023-03. doi:10.2139/ssrn.4371751.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-3C4E-8
Employing correlations, this paper analyzes the relationship between paternalistic preferences and demographic characteristics, in particular, how gender influences paternalistic preferences. Using data from a questionnaire conducted by Konrad and Simon (2021), we find that female respondents are more paternalistic than male respondents with regard to specific policies, such as drug abuse, building regulations, wearing a bicycle helmet, and revoking the licenses of old vehicles. However, we do not find a difference in more abstract statements such as nobody knows better than myself what is good for me. While we do not have data on risk preferences, we proxied them with locus of control questions and we find that the relationship is not as clear as what was previously found in the literature, mainly we do not find that for all statements females and males with an internal locus of control are less paternalistic in response to all statements, they are actually more paternalistic in activities that, we hypothesize, they are less likely to engage in. These findings are supported by previous literature on gender differences and on paternalism attitudes, as we find that people are engaging in ideals-projective paternalism as described by Ambuehl et al. (2021).