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Are Economists More Selfish Than Other 'Social' Scientists?

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  • Laband, David N
  • Beil, Richard O

Abstract

There is considerable professional disagreement among economists about whether economists are less cooperative than non-economists. It has been argued that once an individual has been schooled in the self-interest model of individual human behavior (s)he exhibits more selfish behavior than other, ostensibly similar individuals who have not been taught to fully appreciate Homo economicus. Heretofore, the empirical debate has centered around classroom experiments designed to compare the "honesty" of undergraduate economics majors versus non economics majors. However, methodological problems have plagued these studies, leaving both sides at an impasse. We offer unique and compelling real-world evidence that suggests economists are no less cooperative than non-economists. Indeed, after comparing the incidence of "cheating" on their Association dues, we find that professional economists are significantly more honest/cooperative than professional political scientists, and especially, professional sociologists. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 100 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (July)
Pages: 85-101

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:100:y:1999:i:1-2:p:85-101

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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Cited by:
  1. Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Was Bewirkt die Volkswirtschaftslehre?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 5-33, 02.
  2. Stephen Meier & Bruno Frey, 2004. "Do Business Students Make Good Citizens?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 141-163.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, . "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," IEW - Working Papers 103, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Djanali, Iwan & Sheehan-Connor, Damien, 2012. "Tax affinity hypothesis: Do we really hate paying taxes?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 758-775.
  5. Astri Drange Hole, 2013. "How do economists differ from others in distributive situations?," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 38, pages 4.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2001. "Political Economists are Neither Selfish Nor Indoctrinated," CESifo Working Paper Series 490, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, . "Two Concerns about Rational Choice: Indoctrination and Imperialism," IEW - Working Papers 104, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

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