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Is meanness a moneymaker? Nice guys are paid less, study finds

August 16, 2011 |  9:30 am

Photo: Michael Douglas as corporate villain Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street." Credit: Andy Schwartz Nice guys don’t get the ladies and may not get the paychecks either, according to a study out this week.

Disagreeable men earn about 18% more -– or $9,722 extra a year –- than their more pleasant counterparts. Rude women out-earn sweet ones by 5%, or $1,828, according to the report “Do Nice Guys -- and Gals -– Really Finish Last?”

Agreeable people who act altruistic, compliant and modest want to maintain social harmony and are more popular among their peers. But the study, which David Lazarus teased Monday, found that anti-competitiveness and self-sacrificing tendencies don’t translate into income and earnings.

Less agreeable employees aren’t necessarily anti-social and are amicable for the most part, researchers said. But they’re also more inclined to pursue their interests aggressively and thrive in conflict –- such as in salary negotiations.

Lack of warmth is sometimes even seen as a sign of competence by many bosses, the study found.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame, Cornell University and the University of Western Ontario considered more than 20 years of data from thousands of workers across multiple industries.

Gender stereotypes are also hard at work, they found. Agreeable men often come across as violating tough masculine norms. Women, who are expected to be gentle and genial, often find that being disagreeable pays off less for them than it does for men.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Michael Douglas as corporate villain Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street." Credit: Andy Schwartz

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