The Scent Of Money Is Corrupting, Says Study

New research done by University of Utah and Harvard researchers says that even the thought of of money is corrupting.

Kristin Smith-Crowe, a management professor and co-author of the study stated “We were interested in why good people would do bad behavior.”

Smith-Crowe continued on to say, “We certainly found that the love of money is corrupting and just the mere exposure to it makes people do bad things.”

According to CNBC the university used 324 undergraduate students, Smith-Crowe and her colleagues conducted four separate “games” in two different groups.

One group was told of a financial reward for the behavior, the other was told there was no financial reward for doing the same behavior.

CNBCreported the following:

“In one game, students were presented with a series of scenarios in which an unethical act was committed.

“They were asked how likely they would be to engage in the same unethical acts for money. (The other group was asked the same question without the monetary reward.)

“In another, they played a “deception game,” in which a group could earn more money by lying rather than telling the truth. (No reward to the second group for lying.)

“The third game presented the students with a scenario in which they could choose to hire a candidate who promises to share insider information on a competitor if hired. (No insider information on the decision to hire someone for the second group.)

“In the final trial, students engaged in a performance task in which they could earn more money by being dishonest rather than being honest. (No reward to the second group for being dishonest.)”


Smith-Crowe stated “The study didn’t ask people to do horrible acts, there were more mundane like stealing office supplies.”

The study found that participants who were simply exposed to the concept of monetary gain were more likely to demonstrate “unethical intentions, decisions, and behavior than the students in the separate controlled condition— without the possibility of a financial reward.”

The study ultimately showed that participants with the promise of money would set aside any moral issues according to CNBC.

“Money isn’t everything,” seems to be a silly phrase when compared to the findings of this study, because it would seem that money really does have the power to corrupt!

[Image via Shutterstock/auremar]