(Why) do selfish people self-select in economics?


  • Alessandro Lanteri University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy




economics, experiments, moral trial, self-interest, self-selection


Several game-theoretical lab experiments helped establish the belief that economists are more selfish than non-economists. Since differences in behaviour between experiment participants who are students of economics and those who are not may be observed among junior students as well, it is nowadays widely believed that the origin of the greater selfishness is not the training they undergo, but self-selection. In other words, selfish people voluntarily enrol in economics. Yet, I argue that such explanation is unsatisfactory for several reasons. I also suggest alternative explanations for the observed differences, which have been so far unduly disregarded.

Author Biography

Alessandro Lanteri, University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy

Alessandro Lanteri is a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of public policy and public choice (POLIS), Faculty of political science, University of Piemonte Orientale (Alessandria, Italy). He holds a MA in economics, from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy); and an MPhil and a PhD in philosophy and economics, from EIPE at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (The Netherlands). His main research interests rest at the meeting points between economics, moral philosophy, and psychology.




How to Cite

Lanteri, A. (2008). (Why) do selfish people self-select in economics?. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 1(1), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.23941/ejpe.v1i1.1