Dispositional greed predicts benign and malicious envy

Jan Crusius*, Josephine Thierhoff, Jens Lange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Greed is an important precursor to envy. It is unclear, however, whether this link reflects only malicious envy, which involves hostile motivation toward superior others, or whether greed also predicts benign envy, which involves improvement motivation. If this is the case, the two forms of envy might connect greed to diverging psychological outcomes, such as differences in life satisfaction. The current research provides initial support for this possibility. In Study 1, participants (N = 296) responded to measures of dispositional greed and dispositional benign and malicious envy. Furthermore, after three weeks, participants were confronted with an upward comparison standard to assess state benign and malicious envy. As hypothesized, greed predicted more benign and more malicious envy. Furthermore, greed via malicious envy predicted lower life satisfaction, whereas via benign envy, it was connected to higher life satisfaction. Study 2 (N = 793) confirmed this pattern in a preregistered replication. These results underline the value of a more nuanced view on the relationship of greed and envy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110361
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Benign and malicious envy
  • Greed
  • LIFE
  • Life satisfaction
  • SIDE
  • Social comparison


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