Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Economists Behaving Badly

I think this Oscar Wilde parody funny.

Dr. Shock Therapy is justifiably not too happy with Shleifer:

"In 1997, one of my colleagues in the Harvard Economics Department, Professor Andrei Shleifer, was discovered by the U.S. government to be making personal investments in Russia at the same time that he was on a U.S. government contract to advise the Russian leader on privatization. This action, understandably, led to a public outcry. Having had no knowledge beforehand of Shleifer's activities, I rejected them then, and now, as unquestionably a breach of basic professional ethics. When the court eventually ruled on the matter in 2004, it found Shleifer guilty of defrauding the U.S. government. The court made clear that as an institution, Harvard had no way of knowing what Shleifer had been up to on his own account. I was annoyed, however, by Shleifer's behavior and by any implicit questioning of the integrity of those of us who had worked in Russia during the same period. Many of my colleagues on the Harvard faculty shared that feeling." -- Jeffrey D. Sach, (2005). The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time.

(Sach's book is well worth reading.)

I have no problem with the prosecution of Shleifer. But, without having looked into it, I have always assumed his actions were what George Washington Plunkitt called "honest graft".

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