Gordon Gekko
Rich people, like financial villain Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street, are more likely to cheat and lie than poor people (20th Century Fox)

It is official: rich people are more unethical than poor people.

So finds a study by the University of California, Berkley, which looked at people based on their wealth, job, and education in order to examine how ethics correlate with social class.

According to the study people with more money are more likely to cheat, lie, and break the law.

They view greed and self-interest as "good pursuits", according to the study's lead author Paul Piff.

"Historical observation lends credence to this idea," he said.

"For example, the recent economic crisis has been attributed, in part, to the unethical actions of the wealthy."

Piff added: "What it comes down to, really, is that money creates more of a self-focus, which may account for larger feelings of entitlement."

In one of the studies conducted, researchers discovered that those who were richer were more likely to try and cheat in order to win a low-cash prize in an online game.

Players were told to note down the results of an on-screen dice rolls and that the higher the number, the more chance they had of winning the prize.

They did not know that researchers had rigged the game so it always produced a total of 12.

It was found that the wealthiest were more likely to inflate the total to try and increase their chances of winning the prize.