How do economists differ from others in distributive situations?
There are mainly two conjectures on why economists may behave differently than others in distributive situations: the selection hypothesis and the learning hypothesis. In this paper the “Are economists different?” question is addressed. Potential differences in three dimensions are studied: the weight people attach to fairness considerations, the prevalence of fairness ideals, and how people react to communication about fairness. A dictatorship game experiment with a production phase and a communication phase is run with first-year economics and engineering students. This experimental design is particularly suited for examining differences in all three dimensions. To the best of the author’s knowledge, no previous experimental study has been able to address this question as comprehensively as the current analysis.
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