Call for Papers: Oaths and Codes in Economics and Business

Posted: 16 de December de 2011 by Fernando Furtado in Call for Papers, Event
First Call for Papers for Conference on
Oaths and Codes in Economics and Business

11 and 12 May 2012, Groningen, The Netherlands

A selection of papers will be published in a special issue of Review of Social Economy

Deadline submission extended abstracts: 1 March 2012

Organizer/Guest Editor
Boudewijn de Bruin (University of Groningen)

Invited Speakers
John Boatright (Loyola University Chicago)

George DeMartino (University of Denver)

Since 2010, members of the executive boards of all banks in the Netherlands have had to sign an oath just as doctors swear the Hippocratic Oath. This Banker’s Oath is part of a code of ethics which was developed to restore trust in banking after the economic crisis.  This initiative-unique in the world-has drawn international attention, and suggestions about similar oaths and codes can be heard in various countries. Accountants, financial advisers, actuaries, and controllers have started reevaluating their professional codes of ethics. A group of Harvard Business School graduates suggested the MBA Oath (Anderson and Escher, 2010), while economist George DeMartino proposed the Economist’s Oath (Oxford University Press 2010). But can oaths and codes work in fields fraught with conflicts of interests (Boatright 2008)?

The Economist’s Oath is primarily addressed to economists working as policy advisers, focusing as it does on methodological issues and issues of social justice. An economist swearing the oath promises to recognize that economics is an imperfect science, fraught with uncertainty, lack of precision, and many competing theoretical perspectives. The MBA oath contains the familiar themes from the business ethics and CSR literature: integrity, truthfulness, sustainability, accountability, stakeholders interests, and the avoidance of unbridled self-interest.
And the Banker’s Oath is primarily a promise to give the interests of clients a central place in one’s professional decisions.

Professional oaths and codes are gaining popularity. But in stark contrast to the literature on corporate codes of ethics, surprisingly little research exists on professional oaths and codes. Questions include how the general public perceives oaths and codes; whether they help professionals stay focused on their social functions; how they influence behavior (if they do); whether they increase professionalism; whether they are consistent with general moral duties; whether they help moral deliberation or discussion within a profession; or whether they lead to distrust and illusory quality guarantees.

The Review of Social Economy and the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, devote a conference and a special issue to professional oaths and codes. The conference will take place on 11 and 12 May 2012 in Groningen, The Netherlands. Invited speakers are John Boatright (Loyola University Chicago) and George DeMartino (University of Denver). A selection of papers presented at the conference, upon passing double-blind peer review, will be published in a special issue or Review of Social Economy. Guest editor is Boudewijn de Bruin (University of Groningen).

We invite submission of extended abstracts of around 1,000 words for conference presentations with a deadline of 1 March 2012. The topic is professional oaths and codes in the broadest sense of the word, including philosophical, economic, psychological, sociological approaches. Submissions, and inquiries, should be sent to Boudewijn de Bruin at b.p.de.bruin@rug.nl and Wilfred Dolfsma, corresponding editor Review of Social Economy, at w.a.dolfsma@rug.nl.


Boudewijn de Bruin
Professor of Financial Ethics
University of Groningen
Faculty of Economics and Business/Faculty of Philosophy
Nettelbosje 2, 9747 AE Groningen, The Netherlands/Oude Boteringestraat 52, 9712 GL Groningen, The Netherlands
+ 31 50 363 7239/6170
www.rug.nl/staff/b.p.de.bruin
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