Economists Are Cheapskates

Perhaps it has something to do with their field of choice, economics AKA the dismal science, but many of the world's most famous economists share one extraordinary trait: they're cheapskates!

Some economists may be cheap, at least by the standards of other people, because of their training or a fascination with money and choices that drives them to the field.

In recent research, University of Washington economists Yoram Bauman and Elaina Rose found that economics majors were less likely to donate money to charity than students who majored in other fields. After majors in other fields took an introductory economics course, their propensity to give also fell.

"The economics students seem to be born guilty, and the other students seem to lose their innocence when they take an economics class," says Mr. Bauman, who has a stand-up comedy act he'll be doing at the economists' Atlanta conference Sunday night. Among his one-liners: "You might be an economist if you refuse to sell your children because they might be worth more later."

Economists long have studied "free riders," the sort of people who take more than their fair share of something when circumstances permit. Think of the person who orders the most expensive entr[eacute]e at a restaurant, knowing that the check will be shared equally among companions.

University of Wisconsin sociologists Gerald Marwell and Ruth Ames, in a 1981 paper, found that in experiments, economics students showed a much higher propensity to free ride than other students. In questioning after the experiment, the sociologists found that for many of the economics students, the concept of investing fairly "was somewhat alien."


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"Academic economists gather in Atlanta this weekend for their annual meetings, always held the first weekend after New Year's Day. That's not only because it coincides with holidays at most universities. A post-holiday lull in business travel also puts hotel rates near the lowest point of the year"
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my roommate is an economics major and really smart guy...but he always spends all of his money and then has to get his girlfriend to buy him cigarettes.

i think maybe because he spends all day reading about billion dollars transactions and whatnot he has lost perspective on how to manage a smaller amount of money. (?)
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Sounds like another coincidental logical fallacy coming from another research think tank. Sure there may be the end result of economists being more stingy with giving away money, but could you also say that thrifty people are more drawn to the field of economics? Did you know that English majors are most likely to use words to explain ideas in various situations? And in English too! It’s incredible.
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My wife is a economist and is one of the most charitable people I know! Perhaps she is just a statistical anomaly? Well I must be one as well! I have a minor in economics, but give much more to charity than my old class mates from getting my physics and engineering degrees.
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