Plagiarism in economics

…nearly 24% of responding [journal] editors encounter one case of plagiarism in a typical year. In addition, the survey reveals that less than 19% of responding journals have a formal policy regarding plagiarism. Moreover, there is a great deal of variance in what is considered plagiarism and what an appropriate response to plagiarism should be. A majority of editors believe that the economics profession would benefit from a professional code of ethics.

Here is the paper.  I believe I have been plagiarized twice during my career, each time by a well-known economist.  Not word-for-word copying, but rather using a borrowed idea –and the major idea of the paper — rather directly without attribution.  (In each case the instance was pointed out to me by somebody else as well, so I am inclined to dismiss the possibility of self-delusion on my part.  Plus in each case I know the plagiarizer had access to the paper.)  In each case the plagiarist took an unpublished paper and improved upon my original idea.  In neither case did the plagiarist gain anything concrete from the action, nor have I suffered any real net harm.  I am not convinced that the welfare consequences of economic plagiarism are very large, but arguably there is an ethical case for devoting more attention to the phenomenon.


Comments for this post are closed