Economists often tend to think of biologists as tree-huggers or similar kinds. Of course, there’s something to it. Most researchers tend to work on issues that interests them, and of course the ‘intrinsic’ interest is an asset in the research. The researcher works harder. But is it also a problem? But of course. It influences the research agenda, it may bias results. Maybe more importantly, are biologists aware of such problems? Do they care?
Sometimes, I suspect economists to kind of use the tree-hugger characteristic against biologists. Is it sometimes because biology is a proud memeber of the hard sciences? Something econoics, notably, is not, traumatically enough.
Last night, I talked to an ecologist about this. He agreed that there might be something to my agenda; the research agenda of biologists are often coloured green; they may end up with biased results. But, he contended, economists aren’t necessarily any better. (He’s seen a lot of [environmental] economists make biological claims that are plain wrong!) He’ s probably right. People tend to what they care for & care for what they tend to.
What kind of bias does the ‘intrinsic’ outlook of the economist introduce? (I don’t know; I am [supposed to be] one. Is it blinding to care about efficiency & trade-offs?)
The ecologist slid off the hook, though. Economists doing the same mistake doesn’t free the biologists of guilt.