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Does Studying Economics Discourage Cooperation? Watch What We Do, Not What We Say or How We Play

Author

Listed:
  • Anthony M. Yezer
  • Robert S. Goldfarb
  • Paul J. Poppen

Abstract

Based on what economics students say and how they play games, economics students appear less cooperative than other students. But appearances can be deceiving: the evidence in this paper indicates that the actual behavior of economics students is more cooperative than that of other students. The authors carried out a 'lost letter' experiment, in which envelopes containing currency were dropped in classrooms and the return rate measured. In this test of actual behavior, the economics students returned a significantly larger percentage of lost letters, exhibiting more cooperative behavior than other students.

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony M. Yezer & Robert S. Goldfarb & Paul J. Poppen, 1996. "Does Studying Economics Discourage Cooperation? Watch What We Do, Not What We Say or How We Play," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:1:p:177-86
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.1.177
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.1.177
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    2. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General

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