Early-Life Power and Self-Interested Behavior: The Interplay Between Past and Present

  • Chih-Chieh Chu orcid logo (National Changhua University of Education)
  • Raymond A Friedman (Vanderbilt University)
  • Shu‐Cheng Steve Chi (National Taiwan University)


In this paper we develop the concept of Early-Life Power (ELP) – the sense of power someone has in their life before becoming an adult. We propose that the known positive relationship between power and self-interested behavior will be enhanced by high ELP, and that – among those with high power – self-interested behavior will be higher for those with higher ELP. Study 1 adapts Anderson, John, &Keltner (2012)’s scale to develop a retrospective measure of ELP, and validates this version of the chronic power scale. Studies 2 and 3 test our predictions empirically, using self-reported self-interested behavior and results from the dictator game. In these two studies, we operationalize current power in three ways: subjective power, objective power, and position. The results provide partial support for our hypotheses.

Keywords: self-interest, power, entitlement, prospect theory, dictator game

How to Cite:

Chu, C. & Friedman, R. A. & Chi, S. S., (2024) “Early-Life Power and Self-Interested Behavior: The Interplay Between Past and Present”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 17(1), 72-105. doi:


  • Dean’s Fund for Research, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
  • Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan, Republic of China (grant MOST107-2420-H-002-016-DR)



Published on
10 Mar 2024
Peer Reviewed