Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – A wise saying says that we should not choose friends. That is, make friends regardless of someone’s background. However, according to a study, if you want to change your fortunes for the better, befriend rich people.
Studies published in journals nature found that friendships could offer a way out for someone to break free from the poverty trap. The study, led by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, analyzed the Facebook friendships of 72 million people, accounting for 84 percent of US adults ages 25 to 44. Chetty measures the economic connectedness of a particular region, which means that in an area there are interactions between people of different socioeconomic status.
The researchers found that if poor children grew up in a neighborhood where 70 percent of their friends were rich — a level of friendship common among high-income children — this would increase their future income by an average of 20 percent.
Photo: Bill Gates Blusukan Style in Slum Areas (Ist Facebook via DetikInet)
This friendship across grades, which researchers call economic connectedness, has a stronger impact than the quality of schools, family structure, availability of jobs, or the racial composition of a community.
“Economic connectedness influences everything from shaping aspirations and norms and careers to providing valuable information about schools and colleges and providing connections to internships and job opportunities,” the researchers said. Fortune.
It should be noted, however, that economic connectedness is only one measure of social capital that researchers study. Because, there are other factors that also affect a person’s level of income.
Interestingly, although poor kids who befriend rich kids may have better job prospects in the future, the researchers found that it was quite rare.
Children from the poorest families only have 2% of friends from the top income bracket. Meanwhile, for people in the top 10% income distribution, 34% of their friends also come from the same economic class.
Researchers call this phenomenon friendship bias which is defined as the tendency of people with the same socioeconomic status to be friends with each other.