The study of Applied Economics includes the foundations of ethics as they relate to modern economics principles. The values and virtues that drive ethics are contingent on the ideas and policies people or groups categorize as good or bad. For this reason, the study of ethics in economics is often complicated but is a core component for successful analysis and economic decision making.

At Boston College, our  Master of Science in Applied Economics addresses these issues in depth in Ethics, Economics and Public Policy, a core course in the program.

A Matter of Trust

Over the last decade, public trust in institutions has been eroding, starting with the 2008 worldwide financial crisis. The freedom from liability for those who caused the crisis and subsequent globalization that favors corporations and the wealthiest 1% contribute to the public’s cynicism, according to an article in International Monetary Fund.

An OECD report reveals two areas that can help promote public trust:

  • Competence in delivering services as needed
  • Values that drive public policy decisions

A value-driven decision-making process leads to policies and practices that win the trust of the public. Consistent adherence to a values-based decision model is a big part of winning that trust. This is where we see the role ethical thinking plays in economics, public policy, and modern economic analysis.

Education: Ethical Economic Analysis

Economic consideration and analysis intersect with ethics on every level. Students entering our M.S. in Applied Economics program are preparing for and developing the tools to carry out effective analysis and determine ethical ramifications of economic policy.

Boston College’s Master of Applied Economics program offers rigorous training in completing proficient analysis with an eye toward ethics, rejecting unethical competent analysis and incompetent ethical analysis equally.

This master’s program provides an understanding of the theories of economics and practical application with ethical consideration in real-world situations. Students also develop a wealth of knowledge of the modern data-driven approach to economics in specific industries such as healthcare, banking, insurance, and marketing.

Graduates entering the workforce will be familiar with many theoretical approaches to ethical economics in business, including this maxim of economist Milton Friedman – “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profit.” Students will have the opportunity to understand what statements like these mean and how they are being applied by incorporating a study of ethics into your core economics education.