Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Economists adopt ethics code

Economists regularly consult for companies or organizations.  They also may receive research support from parties that have an interest in how the research comes out.  Last week the American Economics Association formally adopted rules that require disclosure in academic work whenever conflict-of-interest issues may be present.  According to WSJ,
Authors submitting papers to academic journals must disclose to the journal's editors all sources of financing for the research and all "significant" financial relationships with groups or individuals with a "financial, ideological or political stake" in the research. The policy defines "significant" as financial support to an author and immediate family members totaling at least $10,000 in the past three years.
Technically, the policy only applies to only the seven journals edited by the AEA but most observers expect all of the leading journals to adopt similar policies soon.  Economists also are encouraged to disclose potential conflicts in other contexts, e.g., op-ed pieces, press interviews, and testimony. 

These rules should apply to bloggers as well.  I received support from a wide range of sources over the years, with most dollars coming from the US Department of Labor, Interamerican Development Bank, National Science Foundation, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and AFL-CIO Building Trades. 

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