Consider the findings of Dr. Sarah Necker, she finds that there is a considerable amount of naughtiness among economist when it comes to their scholarly publishing practices. Her results are interesting in a number of ways, but more so for anyone who never really bought the pure truth seeking model of scholarship hook, line and sinker in the first place. From this perspective, the economics profession is much less corrupt and confused than perhaps we would have expected -- though of course there is some corrpution and confusion exposed in her study.
If the objective function of the scholar (even an economist) is multifaceted, then truth seeking is but one possible goal among many others associated with career advancement and the seeking of fame and fortune as an economist. Following the work of Gordon Tullock's The Organization of Inquiry, though, the critical issue is not to be found in the behavioral assumptions one makes about the economists scientists, but the institutional environment within which those various behaviors are played out in the scientific community. Science, like the market, law, politics, dating and marriage, religion, etc., is a human endeavor. In order to get better science, we don't need more morally self-aware scientists, we need instead institutions of science that are constructed so that they balance the quest for truth, creativity, novelty, cleverness, relevance, persuasion, and prestige is established clearly, and where fraud, sytematic bias, politicization, and abuse of power are exposed and penalized. In the human endeavor of science and scholarship, as in all other human endeavors, we cannot merely rely on individuals being better and smarter people to solve all potential "bad behaviors", but we must have institutions that guide even the worst of us to behave better than we otherwise would in our quest to better ourselves. Inquiry requires institutions and organizations to make it work, and those organizations help shape objective functions and those institutions structure incentives, determine the flow and quality of information, and provide the feedback that is required for continually learning, adaptation and adjustment.
HT: Peter Klein