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Attitudes and motivations of Economics students: Some recent evidence

Rowen, D. and Dietrich, M. (2007) Attitudes and motivations of Economics students: Some recent evidence. Working Paper. Department of Economics, University of Sheffield ISSN 1749-8368


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There is disagreement amongst economists regarding whether economics students are more self-interested than other students in economic and non-economic contexts. Econometric analysis of the choice to share in a Prisoner´s Dilemma game suggests that it may not be economics students per se that have a lower probability of choosing share rather than compete, but instead that individuals with attitudes, motivations and values similar to those assumed by standard economic theory have a lower probability of choosing share. The experimental evidence here of 1,701 students suggests that it is the motivations and attitudes of subjects that are important for determining economic choices rather than simply whether the individual studies economics. The results confirm that a higher proportion of economics students have motivations in a game theory context that are similar to those assumed by standard economic theory, yet that their related general attitudes and values are not significantly different. Overall the results suggest that the assumptions of standard economic theory are appropriate for a subset of individuals, and for many individuals who do not study economics.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: The Sheffield Economics Research Paper (SERP) series offers a forum for the research output of the academic staff and research students of the Department of Economics, University of Sheffield. Papers are reviewed for quality and presentation by a departmental editor. However, the contents and opinions expressed remain the responsibility of the authors. All papers may be downloaded free on the understanding that the contents are preliminary and therefore permission from the author(s) should be sought before they are referenced.
Keywords: Individual decision making, experimental economics, prisoner’s dilemma games, economists versus non-economists, student attitudes and motivations
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Economics (Sheffield) > Sheffield Economics Research Papers Series
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2009 16:12
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 21:35
Published Version: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/yea...
Status: Published
Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield
Identification Number: Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series 2007007
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9964

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