Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics

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For over a century the economics profession has extended its reach to encompass policy formation and institutional design while largely ignoring the ethical challenges that attend the profession’s influence over the lives of others. Economists have proven to be disinterested in ethics. Embracing emotivism, they often treat ethics a matter of mere preference.

Moreover, economists tend to be hostile to professional economic ethics, which they incorrectly equate with a code of conduct that would be at best ineffectual and at worst disruptive to good economic practice. But good ethical reasoning is not reducible to mere tastes, and professional ethics is not reducible to a code. Instead professsional economic ethics refers to a new field of investigation — a tradition of sustained and lively inquiry into the irrespressible ethical entailments of academic and applied economic practice.

The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics explores a wide range of questions related to the nature of ethical economic practice and the content of professional economic ethics. It explores current thinking that has emerged in these areas while widening substantially the terrain of economic ethics.

There has never been a volume that poses so directly and intensively the question of the need for and content of professional ethics for economics. The Handbook incorporates the work of leading scholars and practitioners, including academic economists from various theoretical traditions; applied economists, beyond academia, whose work has direct and immense social impact; and philosophers, professional ethicists, and others whose work had addressed the nature of “professionalism” and its implications for ethical practice.

Edited by George F. DeMartino and Deirdre M. McCloskey


Harold Alderman David Ellerman Deirdre N. McCloskey Edward R. Teather-Posadas
Peter J. Boettke Gerald Epstein Julie A. Nelson Dennis F. Thompson
Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth Robert H. Frank Robert H. Nelson Robert J. Thornton
Jingnan Chen Alan Freeman Kyle W. O’Donnell Irene van Staveren
Angelina Christie Robert F. Garnett, Jr. Susan Offutt Robert H. Wade
David Colander Des Gasper Sandra J. Peart John O. Ward
Herman Daly Rachel Glennerster Shawn Powers Sharon D. Welch
Jishnu Das Sven Ove Hansson Vijayendra Rao Jonathan B. Wight
John B. Davis Daniel Houser Martin Ravallion Bart J. Wilson
Erwin Dekker Ravi Kanbur Constantine Sandis Stephen T. Ziliak
George F. DeMartino Arjo Klamer Tomás Sedlácek
Sheila C. Dow David M. Levy Joseph E. Stiglitz
William Easterly Thomas Mayer Nassim Nicholas Taleb


See Anne Krueger’s scathing review in the Journal of Economic Literature 2017, Anne Krueger, and George DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey’s response to the review in Econ Journal Watch 2018. Listen to the associated podcast.


“The editors have assembled an all-star team of academics, economists, and others to castigate the economics profession for, in their words, “ignoring ethical challenges” and “being hostile to professional economic ethics.” The individual contributions are grouped by general topic: ethical issues in economic research, economic theory, conflicts of interests, codes of conduct, economic development, serving as policy advisers, forensic economics, and economic education.” – A. R. Sanderson, University of Chicago, CHOICE