Moral Effects of Teaching Economics

  • Amitai Etzioni
Part of the Library of Public Policy and Public Administration book series (LPPP, volume 11)


Over the past two decades, dozens of studies have explored the relationship between exposure to economics and antisocial behavior. With a few exceptions, these studies find that 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 chapter presents a review of this research. 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 chapter suggests there is evidence that both effects play a role in explaining the debased behavior of economists and students of economics, and finally recommends that MBA programs institute course requirements in business ethics.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Amitai Etzioni
    • 1
  1. 1.The George Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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