Shomron Center for Economic Policy Research

In Search for an efficient Institutions

Invisible Conflict of Interest


Receiving funding for research from tobacco or oil companies and subsequently reaching the conclusion, based on project results, that smoking has health benefits or that offshore oil production carries no spill risks is undeniably problematic. Hence, it has become customary to expect authors to provide a statement of potential conflicts of interest in addition to presenting concrete evidence and arguments.

Accepting funding from a company specializing in the development of “effective and safe” magical vaccines and subsequently affirming the absolute safety and exceptional efficacy of these vaccines can be highly beneficial for society, especially when its interests are represented by government officials with purely altruistic intentions. While it is advisable to include a conflict-of-interest statement in such publications, it may not be deemed strictly necessary.

However, what sort of conflict of interest could possibly emerge for an author who consistently receives grants from government-funded sources (financed by taxpayers) and, based on research outcomes, advocates for expanded discretionary powers for virtuous, angel-like civil servants, as well as increased funding for these dedicated individuals and the government-managed funds they oversee? The prevailing consensus among the majority of colleagues is that there is hardly a hint of a conflict of interest in the aforementioned scenario.

This perspective is challenged in our recently published article: Yanovskiy Moshe, Socol Yehoshua. The conflict of interest that is so grave that we all prefer to ignore it? Semestre Económico (2023), 12(2), 78–91., the Supplemental materials to the article are also available.

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