Most See No Link Between Hard Work, High Pay

March 14, 2011 ( – That storied link between hard work and good pay doesn’t appear to have much foundation, at least according to what Americans think.


A mere 28% of Americans believe that people who work harder generally make more money than others anyway. Most adults (58%) disagree, though 14% were undecided, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll. 

Men are twice as likely as women to think hard workers get paid more, and men under the age of 40 believe it more than their elders. But most Americans across all demographic categories say those who work harder do not generally get paid more than others.  

Most American Adults think how much money an individual is paid should depend more on what they get done on the job rather than their educational background or how long they’ve worked for a company.  And, speaking of education, a mere 3% of those surveyed think that those who attend Ivy League schools are better workers than those who go to other schools, according to the report.  More than three-quarters (79%) do not think Ivy League students make better workers, while 18% are undecided.  

That said, adults across nearly every demographic agree that an Ivy League education does not necessarily make someone a better worker. 

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on March 9-10, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.