Research: Winning the lottery makes people right-wing, inegalitarian


www.westminster-consulting.com

People dream of what they would do if they won millions in a lottery.  Research shows that suddenly coming into large amounts of money generally causes winners to become more conservative.  The science of the liberal-conservative mentalities is quite complex, and this report deals with one aspect of why people adopt liberal or conservative view points.  It is definitely not a simple phenomena, that is for sure.

Understanding how the human mind works is important for any author or screenwriter.  Why?  As research expands our understanding of what human attributes are choice, and which are genetically wired into our brains helps any writer create more believable characters and interesting situations.  
 
Lottery winners tend to switch towards support for a right-wing political party and to become less egalitarian, according to new research on UK data by Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick and Professor Nattavudh Powdthavee of the London School of Economic and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne.

The larger the win, the more people tilt to the right
Their study, 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”, shows that the larger the win, the more people tilt to the right. The study uses information on thousands of people and on lottery wins up to 200,000 pounds sterling. The authors say it is the first research of its kind.
The authors believe their paper has wide implications for how democracy works. Professor Oswald said 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.”

Having money causes people to favor conservative ideas
“We are not sure exactly what goes on inside people’s brains”, said Nick Powdthavee, “but it seems that having money causes people to favor conservative right-wing ideas. Humans are creatures of flexible ethics.”

The authors believe their paper has wide implications for how democracy works. Professor Oswald said 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.”

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The authors’ paper comments that: “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.”

Using a nationally representative sample of lottery winners in the UK – the British Household Panel Survey – the researchers have been able to explore the observed longitudinal changes in political allegiance of the bigger winners to the smaller winners. The effect is also sizeable. Winning a few thousand pounds in the lottery has an effect on right-wingness that is just under half of completing a good standard of education (i.e. A-levels) at high school.

The lottery winning effect is far stronger for males than females. The authors are not sure why.
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Story Source:  Materials provided by University of Warwick. Andrew Oswald, Nattavudh Powdthavee. Does Money Make People Right-Wing and Inegalitarian: A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Wins. University of Warwick, February 2014

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