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The Economics of Professional Ethics: Should the Professions Be More Like Business?

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  • Matthews, Robin C O

Abstract

Recent government policy has favored making the professions more like business. On this policy, "cheating" (exploitation of asymmetric information or neglect of externalities) is prevented by regulation; drawbacks include high transaction costs of regulation, and consequent dangers of ineffectiveness and adverse selection. This paper considers a possible rationalization of traditional competition-reducing arrangements in the professions, viewed as an alternative policy. These arrangements prohibit practices that offer a temptation to cheating, even at the cost of restricting competition. They rely on the prevalence of a distinctive professional morality in order to prevent restriction of competition from leading to monopolistic exploitation. Copyright 1991 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthews, Robin C O, 1991. "The Economics of Professional Ethics: Should the Professions Be More Like Business?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 737-750, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:101:y:1991:i:407:p:737-50
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Rosaria Carillo, 2000. "The Effect of Professionalisation and the Demand for Social Status on the Adoption of New Technologies," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 473-502.
    2. Georg Meran & Reimund Schwarze, 2010. "Can minimum prices assure the quality of professional services?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 171-199, October.
    3. Martin Schneider, 2002. "Performance Management by Culture in the NLRB’s Division of Judges and the German Labor Courts of Appeal," IAAEG Discussion Papers until 2011 200205, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    4. Lorenzo Sacconi, 2011. "The case against lawyers’ contingent fees and the misapplication of principal-agent models," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 263-292, October.
    5. Martin Schneider, 2002. "Leistungssteuerung und Karriereanreize für „professionals“: Ein Vergleich deutscher und amerikanischer Berufsrichter," IAAEG Discussion Papers until 2011 200203, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).

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