New Books Network

I. Negru and W. Dolfsma

The Ethical Formation of Economists

Routledge 2019

New Books in EconomicsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 8, 2019 Andrea Bernardi

I spoke with Ioana Negru about the book that she recently edited with Wilfred Dolfsma. We were joined in the conversation by our colleague...

I spoke with Ioana Negru about the book that she recently edited with Wilfred Dolfsma. We were joined in the conversation by our colleague Rodrigo Zeidan to discuss the timely issues covered by The Ethical Formation of Economists (Routledge, 2019).

Economists’ role in society has always been an uneasy one, and in recent years the ethicality of the profession and its practitioners has been questioned more than ever. This collection of essays is the first to investigate the multifaceted nature of what forms economists’ ethical and economic views.

The book suggests that if we can better understand what is making economists think and act as they do, considering ethicality in the process, we might all be better placed to implement changes. The intent is not to exonerate economists from personal responsibility, but to highlight how considering the circumstances that have helped shape economists’ views can help to address issues. It is argued that it is important to understand these influences, as without such insights, the demonization of economists is too easily adapted as a stance by society as well as too easily dismissed by economists.

The 2007 financial crisis has raised obvious questions about the link between ethics and economic questions. This book edited by Ioana Negru and Wilfred Dolfsma aims to show how important ethics is for economic life and to discuss what is the role of ethics in economics, econometrics, in relation to media or public policy. The purpose of the book is to help economists understand what ethics is and how pervasive ethics is in everyday life. Bringing together work from international contributors such as George DeMartino, Deirdre McCloskey, Mark White, Steve Ziliak, Robert McMaster, Andrew Mearman, Craig Duckworth, Patrick O’Sullivan, Jamie Morgan, Wim Groot, Henriette Maassen van Den Brink, Alice Sindzigrea and Edward Teather-Posadas, it explores the ways in which economists are influenced in their training and career, examining how this can explain their individual ethical stances as economists.

The book is an important contribution that students and scholars (in the fields of economics, ethics, philosophy and sociology) should consider buying and reading regardless to their methodological and theoretical preferences.


Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track on Critical Management Studies.