Experiences in life have led me to wonder if this were the case, but now there’s research to support the notion that there’s an inverse correlation between the cost of one’s automobile and the politeness with which one drives. In other words, people with pricey cars drive like jerks. A study titled Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States actually presents research to support what we’ve all known for years. Thanks to Angie Schmitt at Streetsblog Capitol Hill for pointing out that wealthier motorists are more likely to drive like reckless jerks. Among the conclusions drawn by the authors are two quotes worth mentioning:
Unethical behavior in the service of self-interest that enhances the individual’s wealth and rank may be a self-perpetuating dynamic that further exacerbates economic disparities in society.
Upper-class individuals’ relative independence from others and increased privacy in their professions may provide fewer structural constraints and decreased perceptions of risk associated with committing unethical acts.