Economics Students: Self-Selected in Preferences and Indoctrinated in Beliefs

10 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021

See all articles by Antonio Espín

Antonio Espín

University of Granada

Manuel Correa

University of Granada

Aberto Ruiz-Villaverde

University of Granada

Date Written: February 10, 2021

Abstract

There is much debate as to why economics students display more self-interested behavior than other students: whether homo economicus self-select into economics or students are instead “indoctrinated” by economics learning, and whether these effects impact on preferences or beliefs about others’ behavior. Using a classroom survey (n>500) with novel behavioral questions we show that, compared to students in other majors, econ students report being: (i) more self-interested (in particular, less compassionate or averse to advantageous inequality) already in the first year and the difference remains among more senior students; (ii) more likely to think that people will be unwilling to work if unemployment benefits increase (thus, assuming others are motivated primarily by self-interest), but only among senior students. These results suggest self-selection in preferences and indoctrination in beliefs.

Keywords: self-selection, indoctrination, self-interest, inequality aversion, beliefs

JEL Classification: A11, A13, A22, D31, D63, D9, I22

Suggested Citation

Espín, Antonio and Correa, Manuel and Ruiz-Villaverde, Aberto, Economics Students: Self-Selected in Preferences and Indoctrinated in Beliefs (February 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3788857 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3788857

Antonio Espín (Contact Author)

University of Granada ( email )

Campus de Cartuja S/N
Granada, Granada 18071
Spain

Manuel Correa

University of Granada ( email )

C/Rector López Argueta S/N
Granada, Granada 18071
Spain

Aberto Ruiz-Villaverde

University of Granada ( email )

C/Rector López Argueta S/N
Granada, Granada 18071
Spain

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