Sunday, January 09, 2011

Economists' ethics

"The executive committee of the American Economic Association voted unanimously on Thursday to create a committee to consider the association's existing disclosure and other ethical standards and potential extensions to those standards" according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This issue arose after Gerald Epstein criticized a number of US economists for possible conflicts of interest (arising from memberships of boards or positions as consultants) in their policy pronoucements along with a failure to disclose such possible conflicts.
It would be interesting to know the extent to which this is an issue for Irish economists.

2 comments:

andreasmoser said...

I am absolutely against any ethics codes.
- Economics is a social science. It should not be curtailed in any way, but free thinking and discussion should be encouraged.
- There are laws. That's enough for an ethics code.

Kevin Denny said...

Andreas, lets say I work as a consultant for some bank from time to time. Lets say I also advocate, in a professional capacity, some policy reform (such as de-regulation) which will increase the bank's profits. Is there not a conflict of interest? Should I not be obliged to at least disclose this? The law does not require it but arguably this is where an ethics code would be useful.