STUDY: Rich People Are More Unethical Than Poor People

Since the economic downturn, CEO and board members have been making the news more and more. From million dollar bonuses to lavish parties and exotic vacations, some of these executives are making hundreds of times more than most of their employees all while their companies continue to spiral downward.

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley has revealed that it’s not just executives that are out for themselves. The research suggests that those who are more financially well-off are also more likely to lie, cheat, and steal compared to those in lower social status.

The study analysed a person’s rank in society – which was measured by wealth, education, and occupational prestige – and found those of higher social class had an increased likelihood of engaging in unethical behaviour.

“We found that it is much more prevalent for people in the higher ranks of society to see  greed and self-interest … as  good pursuits,” said Paul Piff, the lead author of the study. “This resonates with a lot of current events these days.”

The study found that wealthy people in shiny, new, expensive cars were were more likely to cut off pedestrians and cut off cars of lower class, take candy from children, lie in negotiations, and cheat to increase their odds of winning a $50 prize. This unethical behaviour is believed to be derived from their large sums of money giving them greater feelings of entitlement.

Some of the findings from this study, along with the findings of other studies that came to the same conclusion, can be found in this infographic.

rich people are bad infographic

Photo: Accounting Degree Online

Created by: Accounting Degree Online

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