Greed: What Is It good for?

Karlijn Hoyer*, Marcel Zeelenberg, Seger Breugelmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)


What is greed good for? Greed is ubiquitous, suggesting that it must have some benefits, but it is also often condemned. In a representative sample of the Dutch population (N = 2,367, 51.3% female, Mage = 54.06, SD = 17.90), we examined
two questions. First, inspired by Eriksson et al., we studied whether greedy people generate more personal and household income (economic outcomes), have more sexual partners, longer relationships, and more offspring (evolutionary outcomes), and are more satisfied in life (psychological outcomes). We found that greedy individuals had higher economic outcomes, mixed evolutionary outcomes, and lower psychological outcomes. Second, we compared greed and self-interest. We found that they differed in terms of economic outcomes, and partly in terms of evolutionary outcomes, but that they were similar in terms of psychological outcomes. This research provides insights into what greed is and does. Directions for further research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • LIFE
  • economic outcomes
  • evolutionary outcomes
  • greed
  • self-interest
  • well-being


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