A new survey in the Journal of Consumer Research released on October 18 has found that those in a position of power spend less on others than those who are "powerless."

The study, conducted by researchers in America, manipulated participants' sense of power: those involved in the research were assigned the role of "boss" or "employee" and then instructed to carry out a power-related task. After completing the task, participants were then asked to bid on a T-shirt and a mug, firstly to buy for themselves and then to purchase the item for others. 

The experiment found that when participants were bidding for themselves those who had completed the task in a high power role - the "bosses" - bid almost double the amount when compared to the "employees" (on average, $12.08 compared to $6.49).

However when the participants were asked to bid on the same items with the intention of giving them to someone else, the opposite occurred: the "employees" bid an average of $10.81 while the "bosses" bid a mere $7.10.

The same results were observed across the entire series of experiments, showing that when purchasing for themselves those in a higher position of power were willing to spend more, but when buying for someone else, those in a less powerful position were more generous.

More information about the Journal of Consumer Research can be found at: http://jcr.wisc.edu/