Further tests of the scarcity and luxury hypotheses in dispositional greed: Evidence from two large-scale Dutch and American samples

A recent, large-scale study among Chinese adolescents found that childhood socioeconomic status (CSES) was positively related to dispositional greed (i.e., the “luxury hypothesis”), instead of negatively related (i.e., the “scarcity hypothesis”; Liu et al., 2019c). This relationship was found for only-children, not for children with siblings. The generalizability of these findings may be limited, due to China’s one-child policy and socioeconomic policies which may have led to fewer differences in wealth. We replicated this research in two other cultural contexts that represent markedly different socioeconomic policies in order to test its generalizability: the Netherlands (Study 1, N = 2367, 51.3% female, Mage = 54.06, SD = 17.90), and the USA (Study 2, N = 999, 50.1% female, Mage = 33.44, SD = 12.28). Hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted to test the association between CSES and greed. We mostly replicated the findings by Liu et al. (2019c): CSES was positively related to greed in both studies (“luxury hypothesis”) and there was a moderating effect of siblings in Study 1, but not in Study 2. Implications for theories on greed as well as future research on the association between CSES and greed are discussed.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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