Economics Department Working Paper Series

Working Paper Number

2021-07

Publication Date

2021

Abstract

It is widely held that studying economics makes you more selfish 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.

License

UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Included in

Economics Commons

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