'Envy outweighs greed' in financial matters
We are all happy to lose money, just as long as other people lose more, researchers say.
The findings by Israeli economists Haim Levy and Guy Kaplanski are totally counter-intuitive from an economics standpoint.
"Normally in economics we assume that the person wants to have the highest benefit from his wealth, and he does not care about other people," ABC News quoted Levy from Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, as saying.
"But that's not what we found," Levy said.
About 10 percent of nearly a thousand business students and business executives interviewed in Israel, The United States, Switzerland, Turkey and China, were "altruists"-that is, they said they were happy if a friend or family member made more money than they did.
This only applied to someone they knew, however.
"Altruism is very rare toward strangers," Levy said.
"At most what we get is that you are indifferent to strangers," Levy said.
But a whopping 70 percent said they were fine losing money, provided other people lost more.
"I'm happier if you are relatively poorer'-which goes against economic theory," Levy said.
"Economic theory says 'I should be happy with what I have.' But we found that 'I'm happy to decrease my wealth as long you decrease your wealth.' This is pure jealousy," Levy said.
This jealousy applies to strangers, too, and not just our nearest and dearest ones.