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Generosity Pays: Selfish People Have Fewer Children and Earn Less Money
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (Matematik/tillämpad matematik)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7164-0924
Institutet för framtidsstudier.
Institutet för framtidsstudier.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9750-5835
University of South Carolina, USA.
(English)In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-3514, E-ISSN 1939-1315Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Does selfishness pay in the long term? Previous research has indicated that being otherish rather than selfish has positive consequences for psychological well-being, physical health, and relationships. Here we instead examine the consequences for individuals’ income and number of children, as these are the currencies that matter most in theories that emphasize the power of self-interest, namely economics and evolutionary thinking. Drawing on both cross-sectional (Studies 1 and 2) and panel data (Studies 3 and 4), we find that otherish individuals tend to have more children and higher income than selfish individuals. An additional survey (Study 5) of lay beliefs about how self-interest impacts income and fertility gives an indication of why selfish people persist in their behaviour even though it leads to poorer outcomes: people generally expect selfish individuals to have higher incomes. Our findings have implications for lay decisions about the allocation of scarce resources, as well as for economic and evolutionary theories of human behavior.

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Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics; Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
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URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41115DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000213OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-41115DiVA, id: diva2:1253120
Available from: 2018-10-03 Created: 2018-10-03 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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