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Why Are Economics Students More Selfish than the Rest?

Author

Listed:
  • Bauman, Yoram

    () (University of Washington)

  • Rose, Elaina

    () (University of Washington)

Abstract

A substantial body of research suggests that economists are less generous than other professionals and that economics students are less generous than other students. We address this question using administrative data on donations to social programs by students at the University of Washington. Our data set allows us to track student donations and economics training over time in order to distinguish selection effects from indoctrination effects. We find that economics majors are less likely to donate than other students and that there is an indoctrination effect for non-majors but not for majors. Women majors and non-majors are less likely to contribute than comparable men.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauman, Yoram & Rose, Elaina, 2009. "Why Are Economics Students More Selfish than the Rest?," IZA Discussion Papers 4625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4625
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    5. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    6. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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    8. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2008. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?—evidence from donations," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 268-281, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    altruism; public goods;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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