The goal of my research in this area is to understand how social class (income, education, and occupational prestige) and economic inequality relate to prosocial behavior and ethical decision-making. The results suggest that social class is systematically related to how people think and act. Social class predicts whether people give their resources to others, perceive the emotions that others feel, break the laws of the road, and are willing to take away resources from one person to benefit many. Currently, I am examining how economic inequality shapes the behavior of the richest and poorest members of society.
For an introduction to this area of research, see:
Côté, S. (2011). How social class shapes thoughts and actions in organizations. Research in Organizational Behavior, 31, 43-71.
Martin, S. R., & Côté, S. (in press). Social class transitioners: Their cultural abilities and organizational importance. Academy of Management Review.
Côté, S., Kraus, M. W., Carpenter, N. C., Piff, P. K., Beermann, U., & Keltner, D. (2017). Social affiliation in same-class and cross-class interactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 269-285.
Martin, S. R., Côté, S., & Woodruff, T. (2016). Echoes of our upbringing: How growing up wealthy or poor relates to narcissism, leader behavior, and leader effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal, 59, 2157-2177.
Côté, S., House, J., & Willer, R. (2015). High economic inequality leads higher income individuals to be less generous. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 15838-15843.
Côté, S., Piff, P. K., & Willer, R. (2013). For whom do the ends justify the means? Social class and utilitarian moral judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 490-503.
Piff, P., Stancato, D., Côté, S., Mendoza-Denton, R., & Keltner, D. (2012). Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 4086-4091.
Piff, P., Kraus, M., Côté, S., Cheng, B., & Keltner, D. (2010). Having less, giving more: The influence of social class on prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 771-784.
Kraus, M. W., Côté, S., & Keltner, D. (2010). Social class, contextualism, and empathic accuracy. Psychological Science, 21, 1716-1723.
Côté, S., Willer, R., House, J., & Kovacheff, C. Higher income individuals feel more entitled and report giving proportionally less to charity where economic inequality is high.