Advertisement

European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 239–254 | Cite as

Not guilty? Another look at the nature and nurture of economics students

  • Justus HaucapEmail author
  • Tobias Just
Article

Abstract

In this paper, we re-examine students’ attitudes towards various allocation mechanisms for a scarce resource. For this purpose, we have run a survey among officers of the German military who are enrolled in different courses of study (such as economics) at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces. We find that significantly more students who are enrolled in economics courses judge price increases as fair than students enrolled in other courses. Moreover, this tendency strengthens the more training in economics the students receive. In addition, fewer students with advanced economic education judge allocation through the local community as fair when compared to first-year students in economics courses or other students. These results stand in contrast to results obtained by Frey et al. (J Econ Educ, 24:271–281, 1993) on the same survey. In summary, we find evidence for both nature and nurture effects.

Keywords

Economists Fairness Learning Selection Attitudes 

JEL Classification

A12 A13 A20 D63 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Ricardo Luther and Peter Rötzel for their help in preparing the data, and we are grateful to Erhard Kantzenbach, Norbert Walter, seminar participants at DIW Berlin and participants at the Conference of the European Public Choice Society (EPCS) for their helpful comments.

References

  1. Arrow, K. (1970). Political and economic evaluation of social effects and externalities. In J. Margolis (Ed.), The analysis of public output (pp. 1–23). New York: NBER.Google Scholar
  2. Becker, G. S. (1996). Accounting for tastes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Boyce, J. R. (1994). Allocation of goods by lottery. Economic Inquiry, 32, 457–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cadsby, C. B., & Maynes, E. (1998). Gender and free-riding in a threshold public goods game: Experimental evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 34, 603–620. doi: 10.1016/S0167-2681(97)00010-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carter, J. R., & Irons, M. D. (1991). Are economists different, and if so, why? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(2), 171–177.Google Scholar
  6. Frank, R. H., Gilovich, T., & Regan, D. T. (1993). Does studying economics inhibit cooperation? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(2), 159–171.Google Scholar
  7. Frank, R. H., Gilovich, T., & Regan, D. T. (1996). Do economists make bad citizens? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(2), 187–192.Google Scholar
  8. Frank, B., & Schulze, G. G. (2000). Does economics make citizens corrupt? Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 43, 101–113. doi: 10.1016/S0167-2681(00)00111-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frey, B. S. (1986). Economists favour the price system. Who else does? Kyklos, 39, 537–563. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6435.1986.tb00677.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frey, B. S., & Meier, S. (2004a). Pro-social behavior in a natural setting. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 54, 65–88. doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2003.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frey, B. S., & Meier, S. (2004b). Social comparison and pro-social behavior: Testing conditional cooperation in a field experiment. The American Economic Review, 94, 1717–1722. doi: 10.1257/0002828043052187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frey, B. S., Pommerehne, W. W., & Gygi, B. (1993). Economics indoctrination or selection? some empirical results. The Journal of Economic Education, 24, 271–281. doi: 10.2307/1183127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fukuyama, F. (1995). Trust: The social virtues and the creation of prosperity. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gandal, N., Roccas, S., Sagiv, L., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2005). Personal value priorities of economists. Human Relations, 58, 1227–1252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hess, R. D., & Torney, J. V. (1967). The development of political attitudes in children. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  16. Hurrelmann, K. (2002). Einführung in die Sozialisationstheorie (8th ed.). Weinheim: Beltz Verlag.Google Scholar
  17. Marwell, G., & Ames, R. E. (1981). Economists free ride, does anyone else? Experiments on the provision of public goods. Journal of Public Economics, 15, 295–310. doi: 10.1016/0047-2727(81)90013-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ockenfels, A., & Weimann, J. (1999). Types and patterns: An experimental east-west-german comparison of cooperation and solidarity. Journal of Public Economics, 71, 275–287. doi: 10.1016/S0047-2727(98)00072-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Scott, J. H., Jr, & Rothman, M. P. (1975). The effect of an introductory economics course on student political attitudes. The Journal of Economic Education, 6, 107–112. doi: 10.2307/1182461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Soper, J. C., & Walstad, W. B. (1983). On measuring economic attitudes. The Journal of Economic Education, 14, 4–17. doi: 10.2307/1182523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stigler, G. (1959). The politics of political economists. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 73, 522–532. doi: 10.2307/1884301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Suhrcke, M. (2001). Preferences for inequality: East vs. West, Innocenti Working Paper No. 89. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  23. Yezer, A. M., Goldfarb, R. S., & Poppen, P. J. (1996). Does studying economics discourage cooperation? Watch what we do, not what we say or how we play. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(1), 177–186.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Düsseldorf Institute of Competition Economics (DICE)University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Deutsche Bank ResearchFrankfurtGermany

Personalised recommendations