Monday, September 05, 2016

Does social status affect generosity?

One factor might be that people high in narcissism are likely to feel worthy of their prominent social position.

Public Release: 21-Jul-2016
Does social status affect generosity?
Michigan State University

High-ranking people don't always turn out to be selfish jerks. It all depends on whether they feel worthy of their prominent social position, new research indicates.

A series of six scientific studies led by Michigan State University scholar Nicholas Hays found that people with high social status who didn't believe they earned that status were much more generous than high-status people who felt they deserved the respect and admiration of others.

Prominent people who don't feel their status is fair and equitable become more generous with others to alleviate that sense of inequity, he explained.


But Hays and Blader, in all six studies, found that while high-status people who felt worthy of their rank were indeed less generous, high-status people who felt unworthy were actually more generous.

Prior research has also found that generosity often leads to high social status. The current study takes that a step further by considering what happens after people have attained high status.

"We demonstrate that generosity may not persist once people achieve that high status," Hays said. "It depends on whether they feel that status is deserved."

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