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


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.


Economists Fairness Learning Selection Attitudes 

JEL Classification

A12 A13 A20 D63 



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.


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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

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