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Do Economists Make Bad Citizens?

Author

Listed:
  • Robert H. Frank
  • Thomas D. Gilovich
  • Dennis T. Regan

Abstract

Although field experiments and classroom surveys are ambiguous about whether economists are less likely than others to cooperate in social dilemmas, three important points remain clear: economics training encourages the view that people are motivated primarily by self-interest; there is clear evidence that this view leads people to expect others to defect in social dilemmas; and there is also evidence that, when people expect partners to defect, they are overwhelmingly likely to defect themselves. These points' logical implications appear to place a heavy burden of proof on those who insist economics training does not inhibit cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert H. Frank & Thomas D. Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1996. "Do Economists Make Bad Citizens?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 187-192, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:1:p:187-92
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.1.187
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.1.187
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values

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