I think, intuitively, we all knew this

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2012/02/28/berkeley_study_rich_more_likely_to_behave_unethically.html

“The Los Angeles Times reports that the study found upper-class individuals to be much more likely to partake in unethical behavior than their more financially-deprived counterparts. In one experiment, the researchers recorded the behavior of 274 drivers at a four-way intersection near a downtown Berkeley intersection. The results? Drivers with the priciest cars were four times as likely as drivers of the least expensive cars to cut others off. Interestingly, as the Times points out, “[t]he discrepancy was even greater when it came to a pedestrian trying to exercise a right of way.”

Other experiments showed that those of higher socioeconomic status were also more likely to pocket extra change handed to them by mistake, cheat to win a prize and, yes, even take candy from a child, according to the LAT recap.”

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Correlation does not imply causation.

    The gist of what I got from these articles was not an overgeneralization that the wealthy are predisposed to be unethical because they are rich, but more that they have unethical people among their numbers because there is a relative lack of negative consequences. In short– the naughty that are rich can afford to be naughty, and any reprieve they do face is not a sufficient deterrent.

    I also read similar ones linked to by Slashdot. The most frequently listed example in the comments was comparison of traffic fines in the U.S. (which are fixed) and abroad, notably in Europe (which scale to income level).

    It’s interesting to note that the study did make some observations (but that were not carried out to and concluded by statistical analysis) that 1/3 of the Prius drivers in their streetside tests behaved unethically, regardless of income level. Apparently, entitlement is not solely limited to wealth.

    Reply

    • ooooo
      Years ago I was trapped in the tiny parking lot of the really, really good local grocery the day before Thanksgiving.
      By my watch, for twenty minutes, and it had been on-going when I got back to my car.
      A BMW and a Lexus had seen the same open space, and were blocking each other.
      And the entire lot.
      The police finally sorted it.

      Reply

  2. My comment seems to have been eaten.

    Reply

    • For reasons unknown to me, WP caught it in the spam filter.
      I’ve marked it “not spam,” so I think that means it should turn up here?

      Reply

      • Oh wow. I wonder if there’s something with the Akismet filter’s current algorithms?

        It might be that I used quite a bit of links in my comment, which it didn’t like. But that wouldn’t explain so much why I can’t post to another WP blog, where I don’t use any links at all. Maybe they have Akismet throttled tighter.

        Reply

      • Ahhh (I replied from the toolbar) I think I see… my URL links were stripped out of the reply.

        Pardon my technobabble; I’m really curious now.

        Reply

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