Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?

Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 103

15 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2003

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Columbia Business School - Management

Abstract

Many people believe that economists in general are more selfish than other people and that this greater selfishness is due to economics education. This paper offers empirical evidence against this widely held belief. Using a unique data set on giving behaviour in connection with two social funds at the University of Zurich, it is shown that economics education does not make people act more selfishly. Rather, this natural experiment suggests that the particular behaviour of economists can be explained by a selection effect.

Keywords: Economists, Public Good, Giving Behaviour, Education, Selection

JEL Classification: A13, A20, H41

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Meier, Stephan, Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?. Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 103. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=301868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.301868

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002
Switzerland

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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