Research Proves We Don't like a Winner; ECONOMICS

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 13, 2002 | Go to article overview

Research Proves We Don't like a Winner; ECONOMICS


ALMOST two-thirds of Britons would happily burn some of their own money if it meant their wealthier rivals being hit even harder in the pocket, researchers have found.

Economists said experiments conducted at the University of Warwick explained why so many football fans hate David Beckham and are envious of Manchester United's success.

The research, by Professor Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick, and Dr Daniel Zizzo, of Oxford University, showed to what lengths humans are prepared to go to damage a winner.

The two economists designed a new experiment, played with real cash, where 116 subjects aged 18-50 could anonymously "burn" away other people's money - but only at the cost of some of their own spoils.

Despite this cost to themselves, and contrary to the economists' usual assumptions, 62pc of those tested chose to destroy part of other test subjects' cash during the computer-based experiment.

Prof Oswald said, "In the experiment, half of all the laboratory earnings were deliberately destroyed by fellow subjects.

"Everyone in the laboratory sessions was anonymous and hidden.

The subjects had only a computer terminal, into which they played, and in which they could see how much other people were winning. …

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