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

Antonio Espín, Manuel Correa () and Alberto Ruiz-Villaverde ()
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Antonio Espín: Department of Social Anthropology, University of Granada
Manuel Correa: Department of Applied Economics, University of Granada

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Antonio M. Espín

Working Papers from Chapman University, Economic Science Institute

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, assuming others are motivated primarily by self-interest), 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)
JEL-codes: A11 A13 A22 D31 D63 D9 I22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cwa, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-hpe, nep-neu and nep-sog
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Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:21-03