In one of his lectures, he talked about the special psychological, selfish warehouse of economists.
“To study student behavior, economists conduct field and laboratory experiments. When faced with a trade-off between their own well-being and the well-being of others, students in economics tend to behave more selfishly than their counterparts in other faculties.
So, students of the University of Zurich, going through the admission procedure, have the opportunity to contribute 7 Swiss francs to finance educational loans for students and 5 Swiss francs to help foreign students studying at the university. Only 61.8% of students in the Faculty of Economics and Commerce, versus 68.7% of students who have chosen other faculties, contribute money to at least one of these funds. Other experiments support these findings.
One of the most important questions: does the observed result depend on self-selection? Are students more likely to get into economics or commerce if they are selfish, or is it a learning outcome and students become selfish when they study economics? The answer to this question matters. In the first case, teaching economics is harmless; in another case, economics can be "performative", that is, it can shape our vision of the world and make us look at it somewhat biased.
Unfortunately, our knowledge of this is imperfect. The Zurich study analyzed how altruistic attitudes change during training, and it was concluded that there is no indoctrination (at least among economists), so the only explanation is self-selection. Let's say Yale law students are randomly assigned to lecture courses at first. Those who attend lectures with a connection to economics and those who interact with professors with an economics degree behave in the short term more selfishly than students who are assigned to less “economically colored” lecture courses (constitutional law) and who communicate with teachers who have received liberal arts education.
Since the distribution is random, the self-selection factor does not play any role. The possibility that economics education can change an individual's worldview must be taken seriously. One should also understand what is the mechanism of this change in mentality in order to measure its consequences. There is a hypothesis regarding the instability of altruism.
In economic education, there is the study of competitive strategies in the market (assuming that the world is, in one way or another, merciless), the understanding that selfish individual behavior can generate social harmony in the allocation of resources (assuming that it is reasonable to be selfish), familiarity with empirical research, revealing non-functional from the point of view of society, the behavior of individuals in the case when incentives are insufficient (assuming that it is impossible to always trust economic or political agents). All of this may underlie narratives that, even if fair, form arguments that are inconclusive but effective in favor of less moral behavior among economists. "