A Sceptic's Comment on the Study of Economics* 

Authors


  • * 

    I thank two individuals who helped me enormously in conducting this research: Eli Zvuluny (http://www.possibleworlds.co.il/) who constructed and managed the site which served as the platform for conducting the survey and Michael Ornstein who assisted me in analysing the data.
    Thanks are also due to the many economists who responded to the preliminary discussion paper and confirmed that the results had hit a nerve.

Abstract

A survey was carried out among two groups of undergraduate economics students and four groups of students in mathematics, law, philosophy and business administration. The main survey question involved a conflict between profit maximisation and the welfare of the workers who would be fired to achieve it. Significant differences were found between the choices of the groups. The results were reinforced by a survey conducted among readers of an Israeli business newspaper and PhD students of Harvard. It is argued that the overly mathematical methods used to teach economics encourage students to lean towards profit maximisation.

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