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Matthew Effect

Adage, Anecdote, Metaphor
Also Known As...
Matthew Principle
Matthew Effect


The old adage "for to him who has, will more be given…" — that those with existing status, privilege, wealth, etc. stand to benefit even more from it, compared to those without starting resources. In other words,"the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."


The concept derives from the biblical story of the Parable of the Talents (in the book of Matthew), and the modern usage of the term was coined by sociologists Robert K. Merton and sociologist Harriet Zuckerman in 1968.(source)