The Moral Effects of Economic Teaching
Sociological Forum, Vol. 30, No. 1, March 2015
6 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 12, 2015
Over the past 2 decades, dozens of studies have explored the relationship between exposure to economics and antisocial behavior. With a few exceptions, these studies find the economists and economics students are more likely to exhibit a range of “debased” moral behavior and attitudes, both in the controlled environment of the laboratory and in the outside world. This article presents a review of these studies. It draws on the various studies to address the question of whether the found differences are due to a selection effect — that is, those with antisocial tendencies tend to study economics — or an indoctrination effect whereby exposure to economic theory causes antisocial behavior. The article suggests there is evidence that both effects play a role in explaining the debased behavior of economists and students of economics.
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