Mendoza School of Business

Nice guys earn less, study finds

Published: August 17, 2011 / Author: Richard Greene

 Leo Durocher was right: Nice guys finish last.

Or at least they earn less, according to a new study.

“‘Niceness’ — in the form of agreeableness — does not appear to pay,” the authors conclude starkly.

There are upsides to being nice in the office, such as being better liked by co-workers, the authors say, pointing to a raft of earlier studies.
But the bottom line, according to four studies they conducted, is that “agreeableness is negatively related to income and earnings.”
In other words, nice guys earn less.

And the authors do mean guys. They found that men who are nice, in defiance of gender stereotypes, “do take a hit for being highly agreeable,” suffering a “backlash” that shows up in their paychecks.

Women, on the other hand, do not appear to get the same benefits men do for being disagreeable.

“Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income,” by Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame, Beth A. Livingston of Cornell University and Charlice Hurst of the University of Western Ontario, is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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Topics: Mendoza