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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

Suggested Citation

  • Laband, David N & Beil, Richard O, 1999. "Are Economists More Selfish Than Other 'Social' Scientists?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 85-101, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:100:y:1999:i:1-2:p:85-101
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2005. "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 165-171, April.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Political Economists are Neither Selfish nor Indoctrinated," IEW - Working Papers 069, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Muñoz-Izquierdo, Nora & Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Beatriz & Rin-Sánchez, Francisco Daniel & Pascual-Ezama, David, 2014. "Economists: cheaters with altruistic instincts," MPRA Paper 60678, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Two Concerns about Rational Choice: Indoctrination and Imperialism," IEW - Working Papers 104, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    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. Alessandro Lanteri, 2007. "The Moral Trial: Economists and the Socratic Problem," ICER Working Papers 44-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    7. 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.
    8. İbrahim Erdem SEÇİLMİŞ, 2014. "Seniority: A Blessing or A Curse? The Effect of Economics Training on the Perception of Distributive Justice," Sosyoekonomi Journal, Sosyoekonomi Society, issue 22(22).
    9. Altemeyer-Bartscher, Martin & Bershadskyy, Dmitri & Schreck, Philipp & Timme, Florian, 2017. "Endogenous institution formation in public good games: The effect of economic education," IWH Discussion Papers 29/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    10. Brinja Meiseberg & Thomas Ehrmann & Aloys Prinz, 2017. "“Anything worth winning is worth cheating for”? Determinants of cheating behavior among business and theology students," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(8), pages 985-1016, November.
    11. Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Was Bewirkt die Volkswirtschaftslehre?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 5-33, February.
    12. 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.
    13. Katrin Hummel & Dieter Pfaff & Katja Rost, 2018. "Does Economics and Business Education Wash Away Moral Judgment Competence?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 150(2), pages 559-577, June.
    14. Bauman, Yoram & Rose, Elaina, 2009. "Why Are Economics Students More Selfish than the Rest?," IZA Discussion Papers 4625, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Cotten, Stephen J. & Ferraro, Paul J. & Vossler, Christian A., 2005. "Can public goods experiments inform policy? Interpreting results in the presence of confused subjects," MPRA Paper 60387, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Luigi Zingales, 2015. "Does Finance Benefit Society?," NBER Working Papers 20894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Michał Krawczyk, 2011. "Greed vs. Love of Science in Young Economists A Field Experiment," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 25.
    20. Simon Niklas Hellmich, 2019. "Are People Trained in Economics “Different,†and if so, Why? A Literature Review," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 64(2), pages 246-268, October.
    21. Buchan, Nancy R. & Johnson, Eric J. & Croson, Rachel T.A., 2006. "Let's get personal: An international examination of the influence of communication, culture and social distance on other regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 373-398, July.
    22. 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).
    23. repec:noj:journl:v:38:y:2013:p:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Sotaro Shibayama, 2012. "Conflict between entrepreneurship and open science, and the transition of scientific norms," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 508-531, August.
    25. Teppo Felin & Nicolai J. Foss, 2009. "Social Reality, the Boundaries of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, and Economics," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(3), pages 654-668, June.

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