Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the precept “first tell no untruth” is the initial premise of an ethical code for economists. Unjustifiable claims of truth for economic statements cause harm when people act on them, when different actions could have produced better outcomes. The harm is avoidable if known critical practices give grounds to doubt the claim of truth. This harm arises from not from the malign intent of economists but from their relation with society, which introduces “misleading bias” by expecting them to certify as true assertions that benefit their employers. This gives rise to “monotheoretic practice,” the production of single answers by means of single theories. The alternative is “systematic pluralism”—the provision of a range of possible answers derived from relevant legitimate theories. This code would be mutual, recognizing the joint responsibility of economists and society, and collective, holding economists ethically responsible for their profession’s output.

Keywords: economic advising, assertive pluralism, pluralism in economics, economic code of ethics

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.