Study: Rich People Behave More Unethically Than Poor

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A study done by the University of California, Berkley reveals upper-class individuals behave more unethically than the lower-class.

Paul Piff, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at UC, Berkeley did seven studies about the behavior. His findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The first and second study showed wealthy people are more likely to break the law while driving.

Study No. 3 showed wealthy individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies.

Study No. 4 showed the rich were more likely to take valued goods and study No. 5 showed the rich are more willing to lie in a negotiation.

No. 6 showed the wealthy people are more likely to cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize.

The final study, No. 7 showed the rich are more likely to endorse unethical behavior at work.

During an interview with Bloomberg News, Piff told them a “fundamental motive among society’s elite, and the increased want associated with greater wealth and status can promote wrongdoing.”

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  • Sam I am

    OMG what a B.S. story. So they are just blanketing the rich by saying they are unethical. Talk about class warfare. Wcco sure has the Obama doctrine down pat.

    • Larry Dentz

      sam i am a dork why would you not believe it sounds like your brainwashed the other way

    • zombie Lenin

      Its only class warfare when the poor fight back ‘eh?


    My house and my 2 neighbors’ houses were not robbed by rich people…neither was a rich person responsible for beating my other neighbor’s wife almost to death..and my next door neighbor who shot his brother-in-law to death was not rich either.

    SO…I was fortunately enough to move out of that neighborhood…and I say all this to say that to claim that rich people are unethical is total nonsense.

    • Jason

      The study was not on violent crime. Unethical behavior and criminal behavior can be but are not necessarily the same thing. Get it? I suggest you grab a Websters and then read the article again.

    • Tracy M

      Our COUNTRY was robbed by Rich people. The bankers.

      The big buck colleges TEACH them how to be un-ethical.

      Thats how they can make so much $$ (well, 99% given to them by there parents). The average ethical do have an advantage though…..we can sleep well.

    • sigh...

      The rich don’t commit crimes like least not openly. Theres WAS that judge who beat his daughter for years…

      But they steal and rob you in different ways. The ‘poor’ don’t embezzle millions, the ‘poor’ don’t end up in scandals, and the ‘poor’ don’t buy their way out of trouble. The article is saying that the rich (more often than NOT) feel they are exempt from consequence for their actions because of the amount of money they have. They’re driven by greed, hence why their crimes are often associated with indulgences, bigotry and hedonism.

    • F.O.J.

      The rich are more unethical…that’s why Jesus hates them and the fires of hell await them if they do not repent. While they spend their time on earth wallowing in their monetary wealth, they are forging the chains that will bind them in hell throughout eternity. Praise Jesus!

      • iDog

        Jesus doesny hate anybody

        • Beelzebub

          He hates me, iDog.

        • KLS

          Your right Jesus hates no one, but he did say that it is easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than it is for the rich to enter the gates of heaven. God bless and keep the 99%.

          • Aquila SweetSweet Rogers

            That simply means that the rich man cannot take his riches to heaven with him. It does not mean the rich man himself cannot enter heaven. Earthly riches do not belong in Heaven. The Bible says lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where the moth doth not corrupt.

        • ale

          Thats right, it doesnt matter if youre unethical or have no morals as long as you show up for church on Sunday morning and donate enough $.

          • Jason

            Can I get an Amen?!

      • sure they are

        I wonder where all the gang bangers that kill people just for fun are going to go then. I wonder where the mother that smokes crack while she is pregnant and had a child with multiple medical issues is going to go. I wonder where the three guys that jumped me and beat me at a party for a stupid “boombox” are goinng to go. I can go on and on about people that are not rich but I think you get the idea. Sounds like hell will be full and you will be the leader.

        • sure they are

          I really don’t hate anybody but you are pushing it. Actually, I do now hate you. Thanks.

  • Tell-no-lies

    Spoken like true Republicans……..Do not believe or consider anything that does not directly benefit or compliment you, even if it is scientific evidence.

    • Moron

      ’nuff said

    • sure they are

      Scientific evidence??? I would love to know how this information was gathered? Did he call a bunch of rich people or just people who hate rich people. I am poor and have poor friends and I can tell you one thing right now..they are not ethical and aren’t thinking about rich people as they are sleeping with their best friends wife or breaking car windows to steal a $50 dollar radio.

      • Justnosy

        You need better friends. Remember, you are judged by the company you keep.

  • Common Sense

    A study was NOT needed to determine this info. I think most people know the wealthy are more unethical generally peaking.

    • Mike

      Agreed. Where’s my empirical data, one might ask? Come spend time at my place of work. See how the grossly overpaid know-nothing marketers and commission-based salespeople absolve themselves of fault on project failures casued by their miscommunication or laziness and try to shift the blame to the people that do the real work.

  • Philo

    Yeah Berkley science.

  • Ross Perot

    What a surprise coming from Cal Berkely. Yeah and the poor are more likely to shoot you or commit a violent assault. So what!

    • Larry Dentz

      you sound like a republican mime

  • sure they are

    How interesting that this study was done at the University of Berkley. Bunch of rich kids putting down their own parents. Wonder how far they went into the “poor” neighborhoods to do this study. I am guessing they didn’t go within 20 miles. Nice B.S. story to only make rich people look worse. I wonder how many organizations like The Salvation Army or Red Cross would survive if it wasn’t for the generosity of rich people? I would love to see Berkley do a study of that. (you know they won’t, might actually paint a good picture of rich people)

  • zombie Lenin

    I would assume all these “conservatives” defending the rich here would have a University study or something similar to defend their argument that it is the poor who are the unethical ones.

    I’ll be waiting…anecdotes don’t count.

    • Jason

      Don’t hold your breath.

  • Peace and Love

    WCCO, how can you put a story on about a study on here and not even give the statistics of who they studied?? or maybe I am missing it?? All you have done is pouring gasoline on a fire, this is news???? I am always so entertained and amazed by the generalizers and haters that comment on this blog. If there were such a thing as a fair study in this world, I believe you would see that rich and poor are equally populated with thieves, manipulators, etc……….. there are just as many hater republicans as there are democrats………….with all the deaths caused by alcohol, it is obvious that it would be equally stupid to legalize pot(i just threw that in for some of the commenters that throw it in in stupid places)………….. people cannot agree to disagree even more than they disagree………… is no wonder this world has issues………….. and seriously, could a weather person get the weather right? :)

    • Larry Dentz

      go look it up your self its not their job to give you every bit of info it’s your job to educate your self that is why you don’t just believe one news source

  • Willow

    This smells like left wing propaganda. The sad part is that so many people will believe it because it’s on a “news site.”

    • Larry Dentz

      why wnen you republidorks do not believe or like something it is always a left wing deal??

      • Kat

        And visa versa

    • Jason

      It’s a conspiracy.

  • Are We There Yet?

    Lets just see how Amy Sensers’s trial goes compared to the 61 year old lady who was charged with killing a pedestrian in Maple Grove….anyone want to place bets on who gets a stiffer sentence??

    • Drink, Drive, Die

      Oh sure, now you want us to use common sense…we aren’t falling tor that one

      • Mrs. Lyle Fredrickson

        No, we aren’t!! Anyone with a brain knows that “common sense” is not a common trait for the population!

  • Phiiiiid

    I think a study could be made that liberals are more likely to produce studies that support liberal causes, and that the media is more likely to promote these studies than ones which support conservative causes.

    • Deep Thinker

      I think we should do a study on that

      • Jason

        Then do it. Or just keep complaining on these threads. Either way you’ll still be miserable.

        • Thumidy Thumdiy

          I keep forgetting that morons don’t understand sarcasm….my bad….you Jason are a mental giant in room of idiots……….lol….

  • RUSimpletons

    The study didn’t say rich people are more likely to commit crimes, it said it showed they behaved more “unethically.” Look up the definition of that word if necessary. Here’s one example I personally experienced a week ago: A fine gentleman casually walks into CVS pharmacy with a huge golden retriever on a leash. He seemed perfectly sober. He was advised several times that he couldn’t be in there with the dog without a need for it to which he said “ok, ok…” but then proceeded to continue shopping until a security guard helped him find his way out the door. Apparently this guy thought because he owns an expensive condo next door, that gives him the green light to disregard law and common sense by bringing a dog into a store without a legitimate reason for it. I’m pretty sure that’s more along the lines of stuff that falls into the behaving unethically category…

    • Use your powers for good not evil

      You are right that it mentions “unethical” behavior, but it also referenced crimes, for example: “breaking the law while driving” is a crime I guess, And study 4 references stealing, a crime, I believe anyway. So, naturally, we would deduct they are implying rich people would also be more likely “committing crimes”. And your example, might not have been great for us, as we don’t see the rich you might have seen?? Just an irresponsible, arrogant person? Not really unethical?? But you are right, some people are distorting the behavior they are referencing. The article is really missing the ability to educate us. If they have really found truth to this, they don’t show us the proof. It’s like saying ‘we have done a study and found that movie stars are more likely to kill people than janitors”. it’s a statement based on opinion at this point, not a story. Irresponsible journalism. By the way, my example is fictional, and I am not rich.

    • Deep Thinker

      That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I feel dumber just for reading your simple Sociology essay

      • Jason

        It’s a thinker. Don’t hurt yourself

  • middle

    That is exactly where all the money has been going, into the rich pockets.

  • Doug

    No we don’t

  • Science Critic

    Paul Piff decided what his conclusions were going to be and then designed his “tests” to support them.

    What a hack.

    Just like the Global Warming nut jobs.

    • Larry Dentz

      why ,where would your prof be about anything except your right wing view of course if there is more people on earth now than ever before it is going to effect something.

    • Jason

      Dinosaurs and humans populated the earth at the same time too. Don’t forget about that one.

  • Paul Solinger

    They behave more unethical? Of course they do. How do you think they became rich?

  • stung4ever

    To become rich, truly rich, you almost have to have some degree of sociopathy.

    Unfortunately, political office is an even bigger magnet for sociopaths.

    • Observer

      @stung. Yes. Here are some statistics from the 2000 Congress found at the On the Issues website:
      “According to an investigation by Capitol Hill Blue, an online publication that covers federal politics, a remarkable number of U.S.
      Representatives and U.S. Senators may have spent as much time in a jail cell as on Capitol Hill.
      After researching public records, newspaper articles, civil court transcripts, and criminal records, Capitol Hill Blue discovered that:

      * 29 members of Congress have been accused of spousal abuse.

      * 7 have been arrested for fraud.

      * 19 have been accused of writing bad checks.

      * 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses.

      * 3 have been arrested for assault.

      * 71 have credit reports so bad they can’t qualify for a
      credit card.

      * 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.

      * 8 have been arrested for shoplifting.

      * 21 are current defendants in lawsuits.

      * And in 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity.

      Capitol Hill Blue did not list the names of all the individual members of Congress accused of the various crimes, but did note that some were “serial offenders” with extensive tracks records of fraud or violence.

      And given the obvious economic incompetence of so many Senators and Representatives, you have to wonder why voters trust them with the federal budget, he said.

      “Here are politicians who routinely bankrupt businesses, write bad checks, engage in fraudulent practices, and have bad credit,” said Dasbach. “That could explain why the country is more than $5 trillion in debt, why federal programs are so wasteful, and why taxes are always going up. Are these really the kind of economically illiterate people we want to trust with our money?” If nothing else, said Dasbach, the Capitol Hill Blue investigation may help puncture the myth that Senators and Representatives are somehow superior to ordinary Americans, or better equipped to solve the nation’s problems. “By its very nature, politics tends to attract venal people who crave power, who want to control the lives of other people, and who think they are above the law,” he noted. “This study makes that point clear — and illustrates that when it comes to politicians, the only thing worse than their voting records are their criminal records.”

      Note that these are the types of things the Berkeley research pointed to. I should point out that most members of Congress are also very, very wealthy and owe that wealth to still other wealthy people. “Bird of a feather, flock together.”

  • Larry Dentz

    You mean they have records like everybody else in society

  • Spanky

    A study by Berkley. So they did a study on themselves and found out they are POS. Love it!

  • Kevin

    It must be true! Obami is rich! And all of the Congress and Senate are rich!

    • Paul Solinger

      I’m confused. I thought Obama was a socialist. How can he be rich and a socialist. Would you Republicans hurry up and decide/

  • Bill Clintons Cigar

    MORE CLASS WARFARE! Its all obami has to win on!

  • Kevin

    Do rich people smoke more pole?

  • Steve

    Okay. I want to know how they conducted the study to see for myself if it is a viable study before i blindly accept what a writer says is true.

  • Arcane Legends Hack

    Arcane Legends Hack

    Study: Rich People Behave More Unethically Than Poor « CBS Minnesota

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