Question of the Day

In a 1995 survey of Harvard faculty, students and staff, did the majority prefer to live in a world where (A) they earn $50,000/year while others earn $25,000, or (B) they earn $100,000 while others earn $200,000?

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A 1995 survey of 257 faculty, students and staff at the Harvard School of Public Health found that 56% preferred situation A and 38% preferred B. The survey respondents were explicitly told that the "prices" of goods and services were "the same" in both scenarios, so if they chose the $50,000 scenario, they would have half the "purchasing power" of the $100,000 scenario. In other words, the majority preferred that everyone (including themselves) had a lower standard of living, as long as they lived better than others.

Documentation1995 Survey Results



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