Does studying economics make you more selfish? Just google this (or similar) question and you will find it is a widely held concern (or prejudice?)
A paper published last month addresses the question. Their authors found little to no causal effect of studying economics on social preferences and beliefs about other people’s social preferences.
It is widely held that studying economics makes you more selsh and politically conservative. We use a difference-in-differences strategy to disentangle the causal impact of economics education from selection effects. We estimate the effect of four different intermediate microeconomics courses on students’ experimentally elicited social preferences and beliefs about others, and policy opinions. We find no discernible effect of studying economics (whatever the course content) on self-interest or beliefs about others’ self-interest. Results on policy preferences also point to little effect, except that economics may make students somewhat less opposed to highly restrictive immigration policies.
Girardi, D., Mamunuru, S.M., Halliday, S., and Bowles, S. (2021). Does Economics Make You Selfish? Economics Department Working Paper Series.
If you want to argue against markets, now you can feel more secure you won’t get infected by economics. So please, make your homework!
Featured Image: Me You Selfish, Pixabay