Ethical Challenges Confronting the Applied Economist

George F. DeMartino

in The Economist’s Oath

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199730568
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896776 | DOI:
Ethical Challenges Confronting the Applied Economist

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This chapter presents the results of interviews with over forty applied economists about the ethical challenges they face as they attempt to render their professional services with integrity. The chapter identifies and examines all of the following issues: the need for the economist to serve as a partisan rather than as a neutral technician; time and resource constraints that undermine the quality of economic analysis; institutional pressures to generate biased work; market pressures to provide the client with the outcome s/he seeks; bureaucratic inertia in the institutions where economists work; guru worship and group think; the pressure to speak for one’s institution rather than to speak truthfully; the revolving door and the associated pressure to curry favor; and the many challenges associated with economic social engineering.

Keywords: applied economics; partisanship; technocrats; time constraints; bias; market-pressures; honesty; lying; economic consulting; social engineering

Chapter.  9412 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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