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November 24, 2010

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Excellent post, Jonathan. I think the problem is much more widespread, with economists accepting money or perks to support all kinds of political agendas, not just laissez-faire (not to excuse ones who support that for money, of course), often contradicting what they said or wrote in the past in the absence of such overt outside incentives.

I remember an article in The Wall Street Journal years ago that detailed how economists were willing to sell expert testimony to the higher bidder in antitrust trials, and said openly and proudly that they would be willing to argue for either side--government in one case, defendant in the next--that paid them, and that it was no big moral issue. I was stunned, and lost a lot of faith in economists that day. (Present company excepted, of course!)

Have you gotten George DeMartino's recent book on a code of ethics for economists? Someone ought to write it up for this blog... maybe we can even invite George to contribute.

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