Feb 08, 2014 11:03 AM EST
Winning The Lottery Makes People More Conservative And Less Egalitarian
The lottery industry may be right-wing political parties' best chance of "rapidly winning over" voters, The Guardian reported.
A joint Australian and British study found that lottery winners tend to switch their support from a left-wing political party to right-wing and they become less egalitarian. They also become less concerned by the challenges faced by people on low incomes, The Guardian reported.
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Researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Melbourne released new information showing that the larger the lottery win, the more people tilt to the right, supporting social hierarchy and social inequality. They also found that lottery winners believe less in human equality especially with respect to economic affairs.
"We are not sure exactly what goes on inside people's brains, but it seems that having money causes people to favor conservative right-wing ideas. Humans are creatures of flexible ethics," researcher Nattavudh Powdthavee of the London School of Economic and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at University of Melbourne said in a statement.
For the study, investigators analyzed information on thousands of people and on lottery wins up to 200,000 British Pound Sterling, or $330,000., using a nationally representative sample of lottery winners in the UK. They observed longitudinal changes in political allegiance of the bigger winners to the smaller winners.
They found that the lottery winning effect is far stronger for males than females. Researchers are not sure why.
"The causes of people's political attitudes are largely unknown. One possibility is that individuals' attitudes towards politics and redistribution are motivated by deeply ethical view. Our study provides empirical evidence that voting choices are made out of self-interest," researchers said in the study.
Powtdhavee and his colleagues believe their study has wide implications for how democracy works.
Researcher Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick said in a statement that he had become doubtful of the view that morality was an objective choice.
"In the voting booth, monetary self-interest casts a long shadow, despite people's protestations that there are intellectual reasons for voting for low tax rates," Oswald said.
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The study was published as a new University of Warwick working paper under the title "Does Money Make People Right-Wing and Inegalitarian: A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Wins."