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A Sceptic's Comment on the Study of Economics

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  • Ariel Rubinstein

Abstract

A survey was carried out among two groups of undergraduate economics students and four groups of students in mathematics, law, philosophy and business administration. The main survey question involved a conflict between profit maximisation and the welfare of the workers who would be fired to achieve it. Significant differences were found between the choices of the groups. The results were reinforced by a survey conducted among readers of an Israeli business newspaper and PhD students of Harvard. It is argued that the overly mathematical methods used to teach economics encourage students to lean towards profit maximisation. Copyright 2006 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "A Sceptic's Comment on the Study of Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 1-9, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:510:p:c1-c9
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    1. repec:eee:poleco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:180-197 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Daniel Arce & Mary Gentile, 2015. "Giving Voice to Values as a Leverage Point in Business Ethics Education," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 535-542, October.
    3. Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio & Stefan Szymanski, 2006. "Goal! Profit maximization and win maximization in football leagues," Working Papers 0621, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    4. Attali, Yigal & Neeman, Zvika & Schlosser, Analia, 2011. "Rise to the Challenge or Not Give a Damn: Differential Performance in High vs. Low Stakes Tests," IZA Discussion Papers 5693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Ruske René & Suttner Johannes, 2012. "Wie (un-)fair sind Ökonomen? – Neue empirische Evidenz zur Marktbewertung und Rationalität / How (un-)fair are economists? New empirical evidence on market valuation and rationality," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 63(1), pages 179-194, January.
    6. 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 1-4.
    7. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1007_s11573-016-0842-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anna Olga Kuzminska, 2014. "Konsekwencje aktywizacji kategorii zwiazanych z wladza i pieniedzmi (The consequences of activation of categories associated with power and money)," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 12(45), pages 66-80.
    9. Edna Ullmann-Margalit, 2007. "Difficult Choices: To Agonize or not to Agonize?," Discussion Paper Series dp450, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    10. Potrafke, Niklas & Fischer, Mira & Ursprung, Heinrich, 2013. "Does the Field of Study Influence Students' Political Attitudes?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79934, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. repec:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:199-216 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Libman, Alexander & Zweynert, Joachim, 2014. "Ceremonial science: The state of Russian economics seen through the lens of the work of ‘Doctor of Science’ candidates," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 360-378.
    13. Peter Davies & Ross Guest, 2010. "What effect do we really have on students' understanding and attitudes? How do we know?," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 9(1), pages 6-9.
    14. Klaus Mohn, 2010. "Autism in Economics? A Second Opinion," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, pages 191-208.
    15. João Carlos Graça & João Carlos Lopes & Rita Gomes Correia, 2014. "Economics education: literacy or mind framing? Evidence from a survey on the social building of trust in Portugal," Working Papers Department of Economics 2014/20, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    16. Edna Ullmann-Margalit, 2007. "Difficult Choices: To Agonize or not to Agonize?," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000965, UCLA Department of Economics.
    17. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2015. "Signaling Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 10942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2015. "Signaling cooperation," SAFE Working Paper Series 120, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    19. Mira Fischer & Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2016. "Support for free-market policies and reforms: Does the field of study influence students’ political attitudes?," ifo Working Paper Series 218, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    20. Ruske, René & Suttner, Johannes, 2012. "Wie (un-)fair sind Ökonomen? Neue empirische Evidenz zur Marktbewertung und Rationalität," CIW Discussion Papers 03/2012, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    21. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2016. "Signaling Cooperation," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145648, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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