Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Conflict of Interest

  • Remus ValsanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_699


Fundamental to the notion of conflict of interest is the idea that someone’s ability to exercise proper judgment is at risk of being affected by a personal interest or by a competing duty. These extraneous factors interfere with judgment not as ends that a decision-maker has in view but as factors that tend to influence the ends in view. The presence of such factors puts at risk the decision-maker’s ability to evaluate the weight to be given to the relevant considerations on which the decision is based, irrespective of his desire to resist the temptation of self-interest. The main danger in a conflict of interest situation is the risk of unreliable judgment rather than corruption.


A conflict of interest situation arises when a person who has a preexisting obligation to exercise judgment over the interests of another has a personal interest or duty that tends to interfere with the proper exercise of his judgment (Davis 1982). Conflicts of interest can arise in...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edinburgh Law SchoolUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK