Economist Gerald Epstein found that economists who have been advising government have had financial ties to the entities about which they had been giving advice. Sounds a bit seedy. He found that one prominent economist had written a supportive paper about Iceland’s economy — funded by the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce — shortly before that economy tanked (the economist responded at this site.
Epstein didn’t claim there were abuses; he just pointed out that it would be good to have some ethical guidelines in place, particularly disclosure of financial ties and more transparency, just as we are seeing in medicine today. Here, here! Transparency is good for all concerned, something we strongly believe in at DrScore.com.
One of the best points Epstein made is that he didn’t believe that economists should cut off ties with industry. Those ties could be important, just as in medicine it is valuable for drug companies, government agencies, academic centers and doctors to work together to develop and disseminate new treatments (something discussed on Getting Better Health Care a few months ago). But ties should be transparent, so that patients can made informed decisions.