AEA Code of Professional Conduct

Adopted April 20, 2018

The American Economic Association holds that principles of professional conduct should guide economists in academia, government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.

The AEA's founding purpose of  "the encouragement of economic research" requires intellectual and professional integrity. Integrity demands honesty, care, and transparency in conducting and presenting research; disinterested assessment of ideas; acknowledgement of limits of expertise; and disclosure of real and perceived conflicts of interest.

The AEA encourages the "perfect freedom of economic discussion."  This goal requires an environment where all can freely participate and where each idea is considered on its own merits. Economists have a professional obligation to conduct civil and respectful discourse in all forums, including those that allow confidential or anonymous participation.

The AEA seeks to create a professional environment with equal opportunity and fair treatment for all economists, regardless of age, sex, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, health condition, marital status, parental status, genetic information, political affiliation, professional status, or personal connections.

Economists have both an individual responsibility for their own conduct, and a collective responsibility to promote professional conduct. These responsibilities include developing institutional arrangements and a professional environment that promote free expression concerning economics. These responsibilities also include supporting participation and advancement in the economics profession by individuals from all backgrounds, including particularly those that have been historically underrepresented.

The AEA strives to promote these principles through its activities.


About the AEA Code of Professional Conduct

In October 2017, then-AEA President Alvin E. Roth formed an Ad Hoc Committee to Consider a Code of Professional Conduct, and charged it with evaluating various aspects of professional conduct, including those which stifle diversity in Economics. The ad hoc committee, composed of John Campbell (chair), Marianne Bertrand, Pascaline Dupas, Benjamin Edelman, and Matthew D. Shapiro discussed an interim report and draft code with the AEA Executive Committee at its meeting on January 4, 2018, and provided an update to the AEA membership at the Annual Business Meeting on January 5 in Philadelphia. The interim report and draft code were circulated to the membership in January 2018 with an invitation to submit comments. The draft code was revised in response to more than 200 comments received, and the AEA Executive Committee voted on April 20 to adopt the revised Code. The committee thanks all members who offered feedback on the initial draft and would like to emphasize that it read and considered carefully every comment that was submitted. 

To review the interim report from the ad hoc committee, click here.

To review the final report, click here.