Un estudio sobre el comportamiento auto-interesado en los estudiantes universitarios

  1. Miragaya Casillas, Cristina
Supervised by:
  1. Alberto Ruiz Villaverde Co-director
  2. Raimundo Aguayo Estremera Co-director

Defence university: Universidad de Granada

Fecha de defensa: 07 June 2022

  1. Fernando López Castellano Chair
  2. M. Ángeles Sánchez Domínguez Secretary
  3. Francisco Manuel Parejo Moruno Committee member
  4. María José Paz Antolín Committee member
  5. Amélia Branco Antunes Dias Committee member

Type: Thesis


In the present doctoral thesis, we have aimed to contribute to the field of study related to the possible existence of a more self-interested behavior among students with an economic background with respect to students from other areas. The existing academic literature basically puts forward two explanatory hypotheses, namely: the self-selection effect and/or indoctrination effect. This is because these students are exposed to the study of standard economic models. In these models, the study begins with a very particular subject, the homo oeconomicus, considered a rational optimizer looking to satisfy their own interest. However, the findings from research into these hypotheses have thus far been inconclusive. For this reason, and in order to know the state of the art, two systematic reviews of the literature have been conducted on the hypotheses outlined above, and on the studies concerning self-interested behavior in students with economic backgrounds. The results obtained show evidence that university students with an economic training are more self-interested. Likewise, the majority of researchers find the self-selection hypothesis to be the most valid in explaining the behavioral differences in students with economics training. However, this line of research is still in its infancy and these reviews has allowed us to underline the main limitations of the scientific papers published to date, highlighting that most of the studies use cross-sectional data, and it is advisable to carry out more studies with longitudinal data. Similarly, in the empirical field, we have developed the adaptation to Spanish of an instrument in order to measure—with validity and reliability—the self-interested behavior of university students. Finally, the differences in self-interest between students with economic training and students from other areas have been tested, contrasting the hypotheses of self-selection and indoctrination once they have completed their studies in the Microeconomics course. This research aims to overcome these methodological limitations detected to date and to test whether there are behavioral differences in reference to self- and other-interest. Once again, the results of the present investigation suggest the existence of behavioral differences, but these are—mainly—due to a self-selection effect.