You don’t get paid for sitting around all day, you get paid for doing dirty work

Or: Wages ~ immorality: Stating the obvious, part XVI

It’s hard to tell how much statistical cherry-picking has gone on here, but this is still probably the second greatest graph I have ever seen in my life:

The graph is taken from an economics paper published last year that found, predictably enough, that most people have to be paid more to do work that is perceived as being immoral. A finding that is simultaneously heartening (that they do) and depressing (that they still do the work).

In another victory for stating the obvious, the researchers also found that corporate sociopaths were more likely to work in sociopathic corporations. From the abstract:

We also measure individuals’ aversion to performing immoral acts and show that those who find immoral behaviour least aversive are more likely to be employed in immoral work.

If there is a take-home message for those of us more generally averse to immoral behaviour, perhaps it is this: frowning and tutting isn’t enough.


ps: Still the greatest graph I ever seen, take a bow, David Nutt. As referenced in my articles on The Science of Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience and Everything we know about psychedelics is wrong.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at

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