Full disclosure, or not

December 20, 2010

USA/Our latest special report, “For some professors, disclosure is academic,” examines the question of academic independence in the world of economics.

Emily Flitter, Kristina Cooke and Pedro da Costa reviewed 96 testimonies given by 82 academics to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee between late 2008 and early 2010 — as lawmakers debated the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s — and found no clear standard for disclosure. 

A growing number of critics are calling for change. They argue that disclosing industry relationships should be mandatory for academics who appear before the people’s elected representatives as independent experts.

One of the best known cases was chronicled in the movie “Inside Job” —  Frederic Mishkin, a former governor of the influential Federal Reserve Board in Washington now teaching at Columbia, wrote a glowing paper about Iceland’s financial system in 2006 – f or which he was paid by the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce. Two years later, the country’s financial system collapsed.

What do you think? Should academics who testify to Congress be required to disclose any and all links to corporations?

To read this special report in multimedia PDF format, click here.

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