Study: Nice Guys Make Lower Salaries


SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Nice guys may or may not finish last, as the saying goes, but they make less money than their less agreeable counterparts, U.S. and Canadian researchers found.

Study authors Beth A. Livingston of Cornell University in New York, Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Charlice Hurst of the University of Western Ontario in Canada said disagreeableness is more than three times stronger among men than among women.

The researchers analyzed data collected during a span of almost 20 years in four different surveys — one of young workers that was carried out by the University of Chicago from 1997 to 2008; one of workers ages 25-74 conducted in the 1990s by Harvard Medical School; a University of Wisconsin survey of men and women who graduated from high schools in the state in 1957 and tracked into the 1990s; and a survey of 460 business students last year.

In the three studies of workers, women earned substantially less than men. Workers who score high on agreeableness — by describing themselves as agreeable, helpful, friendly, warm, caring, softhearted — earn significantly less salary than those who tend not to describe themselves in such terms.

“Men who are one standard deviation — roughly 20 percentage points — below the mean on agreeableness earn an average of 18.31 percent, $9,772 more than men one standard deviation above the mean on agreeableness. Meanwhile, the ‘disagreeableness premium’ for women was only 5.47 percent, or $1,828 (a year).

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management in San Antonio.

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