Financial Economists, Financial Interests and Dark Corners of the Meltdown: Itís Time to Set Ethical Standards for the Economics Profession

Epstein and Carrick-Hagenbarth analyze the conflict of interest that exists when academic financial economists, acting in their roles as presumed objective experts in the media and academia on topics, such as financial regulation, fail to report their private financial affiliations. The authors analyze the linkages between academia, private financial institutions and public institutions of nineteen academic financial economists who are members of two groups who have put forth proposals on financial reform. In addition, they review media writings and appearances, as well as the academic papers of these economists between 2005 and 2009, to determine the portion of the time these economists identified their affiliations with private or public financial institutions when writing about or commenting on financial policy issues. The vast majority of the time, these economists did not identify these affiliations and possible conflicts of interest. In light of these and related findings the authors call for an economistsí code of ethics which would require academic economists to identify these connections in appropriate contexts.

>> Download this paper as published in the January 2012 Cambridge Journal of Economics

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