- The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics
- Introduction, or Why This Handbook?
- The <i>Skin-in-the-Game</i> Heuristic for Protection Against Tail Events
- The Ethics of Economic Decision Rules
- In Praise of Imperfect Commitment: An Ethic of Power, Professionalism and Risk
- “Econogenic Harm”: On the Nature of and Responsibility for the Harm Economists Do as They Try to Do Good
- About Doing the Right Thing as an Academic Economist
- The Social Responsibility of Economists
- The Ethical Economist: Duty and Virtue in the Scientific Process
- Ethics in Relation to Economics, Ecology, and Eschatology
- Poisoning the Well, or How Economic Theory Damages Moral Imagination
- Economists’ Odd Stand on the Positive–Normative Distinction: A Behavioral Economics View
- The Complex Ethical Consequences of “Simple” Theoretical Choices
- Good, Evil, and Economic Practice
- Alternative Ethical Perspectives on the Financial Crisis: Lessons for Economists
- Economists’ Ethics in the Build-Up to the Great Recession
- Ethics and Advances in Economic Science: The Role of Two Norms
- The Meaning of <i>Deceive</i> in Experimental Economic Science
- Honesty and Integrity in Econometrics
- Lady Justice Versus Cult of Statistical Significance: Oomph-less Science and the New Rule of Law
- Balancing Risk and Benefit: Ethical Tradeoffs in Running Randomized Evaluations
- Conducting Ethical Economic Research: Complications from the Field
- The Unprincipled Randomization Principle in Economics and Medicine
- Professional Disequilibrium: Conflict of Interest in Economics
- Considerations on Conflict of Interest in Academic Economics
- Ethics, Economic Advice, and Economic Policy
- Neoclassical Economics as the New Social Engineering: The Debacle of the Russian Post-Socialist Transition
- The Ethics of Economic Development and Human Displacement
- How Can We Better Address the Gaps in our Knowledge about Development Effectiveness?
- Confessions of a Policy Analyst
- Ethics and the Government Economist
- The Ethics Problem: Toward a Second-Best Solution to the Problem of Economic Expertise
- First Tell No Untruth
- Ethical Issues in Forensic Economics
- Exposure and Dialogue Programs in the Training of Development Analysts and Practitioners
- Ethics and Learning in Undergraduate Economics Education
- Creating Humble Economists: A Code of Ethics for Economists
- Codes of Ethics for Economists, Pluralism, and the Nature of Economic Knowledge
- Author Index
Abstract and Keywords
From the movie Inside Job, one gets the sense that economists are ethically challenged because they take payments for writing papers that say what the funders of their research want them to say. This chapter takes issue with that view and suggests that the more serious ethical problem of economics has little to do with the funding of economic research. It has to do with lack of humility. It argues that economists have a tendency to convey more scientific certainty in their policy positions than the theory and evidence objectively would allow. Too many economists are willing to make seemingly definitive scientific statements about policy based on models, that they know, or should know, are highly imperfect. To deal with that problem, this chapter suggests that applied economists should see themselves as engineers, not as applied scientists. It argues that doing so is important because engineering has a broader and more humble methodology than does science. Because applied economists are essentially engineers, the chapter argues that an Economist’s Code of Ethics can be closely based on the National Society of Professional Engineer’s Code of Ethics.
David Colander is Christian A. Johnson Professor of Economics at Middlebury College.
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