Study On Education and Wealth Creation Taps Wealth-X's Big Data On Global Ultra Wealthy

Dec 01, 2015, 09:00 ET from Wealth-X

NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- What are the characteristics of people who amass enormous fortunes later in their lives? How important was education, cognitive ability, and other factors in their path to wealth greatness?

A study by Dr Jonathan Wai of Duke University and David Lincoln, research director at Wealth-X, the global authority on wealth intelligence, examined a sample of 18,245 hand-curated Wealth-X dossiers of ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals with systematic education and other baseline demographic information drawn from the larger Wealth-X database.

The authors collaborated to examine the extent to which people in "the right tail of wealth" (the top 0.003% of the world's population) are highly educated and cognitively able.

The study titled "Investigating The Right Tail Of Wealth: Education, Cognitive Ability, Giving, Network Power, Gender, Ethnicity, Leadership, And Other Characteristics" in the January/February 2016 issue of Intelligence provides evidence for the clustering of brains, wealth, and power, and suggests that elite education may matter in the trajectory of developing expertise in wealth and power generation.

The study showed that:

  • Elite education and ability was associated with greater wealth, giving, and network power.
  • However, when controlling for multiple confounds the association between education/ability and wealth was found to be quite small.
  • Females were underrepresented, and female CEOs needed to be more select (be more educated and cognitively able) to reach the top of a company.
  • Males and billionaires gave the most, but females and UHNW individuals gave more of what they had.
  • African Americans and self-made females had the highest network power (connected to more influential people).
  • African Americans and Caucasians were similarly educated and cognitively able.
  • Democrats had a higher education and cognitive ability level than Republicans.
  • Jewish individuals were overrepresented by a factor of about 234.

The article can be downloaded here.

On the collaboration with Wealth-X, Wai said: "Incredible advances in the social sciences can be made today because of huge amounts of data being collected. I collaborated with Wealth-X because of the power of their data to answer previously unexplored questions about the right tail of wealth and why that matters for society. Our paper provides one of the most comprehensive windows into the minds and characteristics of some of the people whose decisions influence all of us, for better or worse."

Lincoln added: "The data we have collected at Wealth-X is unrivaled in breadth and scale. This research was not possible without the database and I'm excited about the new research that will emerge. We're only touching the surface in the study of wealth by using big data."

About Wealth-X

Wealth-X is the global authority on wealth intelligence, providing sales, marketing, strategy and compliance solutions to clients in the financial services, luxury, not-for-profit and education sectors. Its award-winning research and thought leadership are regularly cited by the world's media such as CNBC, Financial Times, Thomson Reuters and BBC. Wealth-X has more than 250 staff in 10 global centers, including Singapore, London and New York (