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Economics students: Self-selected in preferences and indoctrinated in beliefs

Antonio Espín (), Manuel Correa and Alberto Ruiz-Villaverde ()

International Review of Economics Education, 2022, vol. 39, issue C

Abstract: There is much debate as to why economics students display more self-interested behavior than other students: whether homo economicus self-select into economics or students are instead “indoctrinated” by economics learning, and whether these effects impact on preferences or beliefs about others’ behavior. Using a classroom survey (n > 500) with novel behavioral questions we show that, compared to students in other majors, econ students report being: (i) more self-interested (in particular, less compassionate or averse to advantageous inequality) already in the first year and the difference remains among more senior students; (ii) more likely to think that people will be unwilling to work if unemployment benefits increase (thus, endorsing the standard neoclassical view about others and the market), but only among senior students. These results suggest self-selection in preferences and indoctrination in beliefs.

Keywords: Self-selection; Indoctrination; Self-interest; Inequality aversion; Beliefs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ireced:v:39:y:2022:i:c:s1477388021000232

DOI: 10.1016/j.iree.2021.100231

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