Indoctrination, Preselection or Culture? Economic Education and Attitudes towards Cooperation
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Publication date: 2017-12-31
GNPJE 2017;292(6):57-77
Students of economics are often presented as less cooperative than students of other disciplines. A method commonly used to establish this difference is based on laboratory experiments where students participate in trust games. However, these games are analysed as part of microeconomics courses. Hence, drawing conclusions about how students of economics behave while playing these games may not indicate their actual behaviour. This paper contributes to the discussion on economics students’ attitudes towards cooperation by presenting the results of a survey conducted among undergraduate students of economics at the University of Lodz in central Poland (N=129). Besides the indoctrination and preselection hypotheses, a culture hypothesis was also examined. To analyse the significance of culture on students’ cooperativeness, we recruited respondents from two countries, China and Poland, representing two different cultures of collectivism vs. individualism. Our findings lend support to the culture hypothesis, while we failed to find evidence for the indoctrination hypothesis. Moreover, the values of the Cooperation Index, an indicator coined to express respondents’ attitude towards cooperation, confirm that females are more ready to cooperate than males. Since an ability to work in a team is regarded as the most valuable skill by employers (NACE Job Outlook 2016), our findings suggest treating training in teamwork as an integral part of economics curricula.
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