Jeffrey Sachs — studying neoclassical economics make students less ‘pro-social’

18 October, 2015 at 19:42 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

worldhappiness15_cover_onlyStudents trained in egoistic game theory, notably in university courses in neoclassical economics, are less likely to cooperate in laboratory settings. There is now a large literature on the lower levels of pro-sociality of economics students compared with non-economics students … The findings of low pro-sociality among economics students are robust; the interpretation, however, has differed between those who have identified self-selection as the cause and those who have identified the content of neoclassical economics training as the cause. In short, does economics attract students with low tendencies towards pro-sociality, or does it make them? The answer, after three decades of research, seems to be both. There is an element of self-selection, but there is also a clear “treatment effect,” according to which pro-sociality declines as the result of instruction in mainstream, egoistic game theory and neoclassical economics more generally.”

Jeffrey Sachs

(h/t Bo Rothstein)



  1. What would you recommend as a good guide to non-egotistical game theory?

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