Editor's pick: Are the wealthy more prone to cheating, lying?

By Lauren McNitt


A new Bloomberg article, Wealthy More Likely to Lie, Cheat: Researchers, discusses a study that found America’s wealthy are greedier than there less well-to-do counterparts.

Self-interest is a “fundamental motive among society’s elite, and the increased want associated with greater wealth and status can promote wrongdoing,”according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

The researchers asked whether members of higher social classes have a higher sense of morality. After conducting seven tests, they found the opposite to be true.

The wealthy are more likely to take candy from children, lie during negotiation and cheat to win, according to the study’s findings. However, according to two experts Bloomberg interviewed, there are several problems with the study:
  • Faulty experiment design
  • Limitations to research:
    • Findings driven more by greed than amount of wealth
    • Includes "nouveau riche," rather than very wealthy, who “tend to drive 9-year-old cars and “don’t wear logos.”
As an advisor who works with high-net-worth clients, what is your take on the study and it's findings?