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Early-Life Power and Self-Interested Behavior: The Interplay Between Past and Present

In this paper we develop the concept of Early-Life Power (ELP) – the sense of power someone has in their life before becoming an adult. We propose that the known positive relationship between power and self-interested behavior will be enhanced by high ELP, and that – among those with high power – self-interested behavior will be higher for those with higher ELP. Study 1 adapts Anderson, John, & Keltner (2012)’s scale to measure ELP, and validates this version of the chronic power scale. Studies 2 and 3 test our predictions empirically, using self-reported self-interested behavior and results from the dictator game. In these two studies, we operationalize current power in three ways: subjective power, objective power, and position. The results provide partial support for our hypotheses.

Chih-Chieh Chu
Department of Business Administration, National Changhua University of Education

Raymond A. Friedman
Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
United States

Shu-Cheng Steve Chi
Department of Business Administration, National Taiwan University


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