Feeds

Germans announce: Revenge is inefficient

If only we'd discovered this sooner

High performance access to file storage

In development which should strike fear into the hearts of action-movie scriptwriters and BOFHs everywhere, remorselessly efficient German economists have calculated that revenge is inefficient.

According to the German national socio-economic database, vengeful people are more likely to be unemployed, have fewer friends and are less satisfied with their lives than those who occasionally let a bad turn go unpunished.

The new analysis comes from profs at the University of Bonn, using data from the Deutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (German Institute for Economic Research), which carries out widespread surveys among the German people. There was also involvement by researchers in Holland and other countries.

In a survey of 20,000 Germans, respondents - along with the usual answers about employment, satisfaction, number of chums etc. - were asked what their attitude was to the "eye for an eye" school of thought, referred to by the profs as "reciprocity".

Positive reciprocity is the "one good turn deserves another" version, whereas negative reciprocity is for those who simply will not let it lie.

"Both positive and negative reciprocity are widespread in Germany", declares Professor Doktor Armin Falk of the Institut für Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften at Bonn University, summarising the results.

But it seems that the negatively reciprocal vindictive types don't have nearly as good a time. In particular they are much more likely to be unemployed than others, which Falk puts down to the fact that managers find them difficult to motivate (unlike positively-reciprocal sorts, who respond to bonuses or free company drinks by working harder or longer). Even worse, attempts to discipline the irascible, vengeful slacker will lead to trouble: go-slows, or even sabotage.

"On the basis of these theoretical considerations it would be natural to expect that negatively reciprocal people are more likely to lose their jobs," says Falk. "A supposition which coincides with our results."

The prof also says that, at least in Germany, "anyone who prefers to act according to the Old Testament motto of 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' has on average less friends – and is clearly less than satisfied with his or her life."

The profs publish their paper Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes in this month's Economic Journal, and online here (subscription required). ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels
How the internet of things has deep roots in the English countryside
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.