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Preference Falsification in the Economics Profession

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  • William L. Davis

Abstract

In the economics profession there is a tension between the scholastic orientation and the public discourse orientation. The former affirms certain academic conventions among economists such as mathematical model building and statistical significance. The latter emphasizes communicating with lay people by addressing issues as they are understood in policy discourse. The results of a recent survey of economists indicate that most privately believe that the orientation is too scholastic. This paper explores the possibility that a large portion of the economics profession practices what Timur Kuran calls preference falsification—that is, individuals express or exhibit public preferences that are at odds with, or at least do not reflect, their private preferences. The survey results suggest that many economists at least weakly falsify their preferences about much of the profession’s conventions while actually having preferences to the contrary.

Suggested Citation

  • William L. Davis, 2004. "Preference Falsification in the Economics Profession," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 359-368, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:1:y:2004:i:2:p:359-368
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Klein, 2001. "Plea to Economists Who Favor Liberty: Assist the Everyman," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 185-202, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert H. Nelson, 2004. "Scholasticism versus Pietism: The Battle for the Soul of Economics," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(3), pages 473-497, December.
    2. Daniel B. Klein & Pedro Romero, 2007. "Model Building versus Theorizing: The Paucity of Theory in the _Journal of Economic Theory_," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(2), pages 241-271, May.
    3. Philip R. P. Coelho & Daniel B. Klein & James E. McClure, 2004. "Fashion Cycles in Economics," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(3), pages 437-454, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Role of Economics; Role of Economists; Market for Economists; Sociology of Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. User:Vipul/Preference falsification in Wikipedia English ne '')
    2. Präferenzverfälschung in Wikipedia German ne '')
    3. Preference falsification in Wikipedia English ne '')

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