“FOR unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” St Matthew’s words are oft quoted, albeit usually in an abbreviated form. But are they true? In a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Arnout van de Rijt of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his colleagues used the power of the world wide web to find out.
Dr van de Rijt designed a series of experiments intended to look at whether giving people an arbitrary advantage over their fellows at the beginning of an endeavour led to a significantly better outcome for those people. His first experiment tested the value of a donation to a project on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. His second boosted the reputations of reviewers on epinions.com, a product-recommendation site. His third enhanced the status of a test group of Wikipedia editors. And his fourth added signatures to petitions posted on change.org, a site at which political campaigners can lay out their wares.[READ MORE](http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21601494-and-science-has-now-proved-it-nothing-succeeds-success)