Researchers set up a test called Taxpayer Expenses in which the politicians had to decide how much taxpayers’ money they could swindle from a dwindling pot.
“They just couldn’t help themselves,” Professor Smirno Radish, of Kentucky Fry University, told the BBC. “They had helping after helping of taxpayer money, and even came back for seconds, but we saw something truly astonishing with some of them, a pang of regret.”
In some cases, the politicians decided to move on from one expense account to another resulting in deep seated regret that they could not swindle even more freebies.
Faced with this scenario, the politicians often stopped and looked back at the previous expense payments and were regretful that they did not get more, and more and more.
“Many of our politician study members expressed regret when the expense accounts were reduced in size over a period of time. They wished they had stolen more money,” he said.
The study, published in “Parliament Today”, questions claims that regret is a uniquely non-politician’s emotion.
Next week, professor Radish wants to conduct a study on BBC executives.