In a new paper published in the International Journal of Social Economics Stephan Pühringer together with Lukas Bäuerle present the findings of a qualitative study with undergraduate students of economics. The main empirical contribution of the paper is that students enter economics curricula with epistemic, practical or moral/political motivations for understanding and dealing with real-world problems but end up remarkably disappointed after going through the mathematical and methods-orientated introductory courses. This leads the authors to postulate severe lack of real-world-orientation in current economic education.
The findings further indicate that students develop strategies to cope with their disappointment – all of them relating to their original motivation. The theoretical contextualization of the empirical findings is based on the psychological concept of cognitive dissonance.