The Matthew effect specifies that the individuals who are powerful become more powerful while those that do not have much status even become less powerful. This social phenomenon is often linked with the quote, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. For instance, students who can usually afford to go to Ivy League universities come from wealthy families since the annual tuition fee is around $55,000 to $60,000. They then develop better skills and connections through their education, family ties, and acquaintances. Hence, they are more likely to achieve more as compared to their counterparts who belong to a lower socioeconomic status.
The term is based on a Biblical verse, Mathew 25:29 which says “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away” (New Living Translation). This concept was coined by Robert K. Merton, an American sociologist.