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Does Studying Economics Make You Republican?

Paul Solman: There’s a fascinating post up on the New York Times economics blog that touches on a question explored first, as far as I know, by the great Cornell economist Robert Frank with collaborators Tom Gilovich and Dennis Regan. Put bluntly: Does studying economics persuade (brainwash) you into believing the PRECEPTS of economics?

The Frank et al. paper was published in 1993 and is available online here. It was called “Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?” The conclusion: it does.

The Times blog cites a more recent paper with a less judgmental point of view (depending on your politics, I guess): “Most notably, the study found that the more economics classes a person took, the more likely he or she was to be a member of the Republican Party and to donate money to a political candidate or a cause.” The full post and link to the study is here.

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