Does an Economics Education Affect Behavior? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment
20 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 7, 2013
Does an economics education affect an individual’s behavior? While it has been shown that choices made by those who have studied economics are different, what is unclear is whether differences in behavior are, in fact, due to the education or simply reflect the fact that those who choose to study economics differ from those who do not. This issue is addressed using experimental evidence from the Public Goods Game where individuals either contribute to improve group wealth or free ride. A survey on one’s beliefs regarding appropriate economic policy is administered. This acts as an instrument to separate the selection effects of students who choose to study economics from the impact of the education. It is shown that, accounting for the endogeneity, there is an inverse relationship between the number of economics courses a student has taken and the amount contributed to a public good.
Keywords: economics education, experiment, free ride, Public Goods Game, social preferences
JEL Classification: A2, C91, D01, D64, H41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation