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Economics: House of Ill Repute

Dan Berrett, at Inside Higher Ed, updates us on the corruption of the field of economics, and the profession’s glacial pace toward ethics and conflict of interest policies.

… [T]he Academy Award-winning documentary “Inside Job” has cast a harsh light on the chumminess of regulators, bond raters and bankers — and on the academic economists who were supposed to have rendered disinterested advice and analysis.

… [If] an ethics code and conflict of interest policy were to be adopted, …economists would state relevant sources of financial support, or ownership stakes in firms that might benefit as a result of policies they are advocating when writing op-eds or testifying in front of Congress.

[E]conomists at top programs, such as Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, share a somewhat common perspective and ideology about financial markets and regulation — and … professors from these departments also tend to get consulting work at private firms or at government agencies, thus circulating a fairly consistent ideology throughout the most influential agencies and universities.

There’s seems to be a kind of weird double-tracking going on in academic economics at the moment. Economists are either mooning over their own math (“[T]he central cause of the profession’s failure [to predict the economic collapse] was the desire for an all-encompassing, intellectually elegant approach that also gave economists a chance to show off their mathematical prowess,” writes Paul Krugman.) or lusting after corporate liaisons. Either way, you’ve got a lot of academics distracted from respectable intellectual work.

Margaret Soltan, April 19, 2011 4:23AM
Posted in: conflict of interest

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3 Responses to “Economics: House of Ill Repute”

  1. dmf Says:

    i think that all of the talk from the prez on down about universities as economic engines is signaling the end of research without obvious commercial appeal, and the humanities are likely the canaries in this coal-mine

  2. Michael McNabb, Attorney Says:

    Yes, see once again Professor Eva Von Dassow address the Regents of the University of Minnesota about the canaries (humanities) in the coal mine (featured in a previous UD post) in Three Minutes at http:ptable.blogspot.com/2010/06/three-minutes-of-input-at-university-of.html#links

    See also the excerpts from Jennifer Washburn’s groundbreaking book entitled University Inc: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education in the Postscript to On The Hidden Cost of Research at http://ptable.blogspot.com/2010/12/on-hidden-cost-of-research-michael.html#links.

  3. Michael McNabb, Attorney Says:

    The first link in my comment (with the video of Professor Von Dassow)should be http://ptable.blogspot.com/2010/06/three-minutes-of-input-at-university-of.html#links.

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