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Why Are Economics Students More Selfish than the Rest?

  • Bauman, Yoram

    ()

    (University of Washington)

  • Rose, Elaina

    ()

    (University of Washington)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4625.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4625.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4625
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    1. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    5. Frey, Bruno S. & Meier, Stephan, 2004. "Pro-social behavior in a natural setting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 65-88, May.
    6. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2006. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?: evidence from donations," Working Papers 06-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    7. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 592-612, 03.
    8. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Richard Biel & David Laband, 1999. "Are economists more selfish than other `social' scientists?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00076, The Field Experiments Website.
    11. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
    12. Frank, Bjorn & Schulze, Gunther G., 2000. "Does economics make citizens corrupt?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 101-113, September.
    13. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2003. "Are political economists selfish and indoctrinated? Evidence from a natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00242, The Field Experiments Website.
    14. 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 726-35, May.
    15. Richard O. Beil & David N. Laband, 1996. "The American Economic Association Dues Structure," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 179-186, Fall.
    16. John R. Carter & Michael D. Irons, 1991. "Are Economists Different, and If So, Why?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 171-177, Spring.
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