Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has faced allegations of potential plagiarism in her recent publication on women economists.
The Financial Times conducted a review of The Women Who Made Modern Economics and discovered over 20 instances of content from other sources that seem to have been either directly copied or slightly modified without giving credit.
The paper provides examples such as an obituary from the Guardian, multiple Wikipedia entries, and a quote from another Labour frontbencher.
Basic Books, the publishers of the book, acknowledged that there were sentences in the book without proper references. Reeves’s office denied committing plagiarism, but did admit to making mistakes and stated that they would be fixed.
A representative from the FT stated: “We firmly deny the allegation presented by this publication. These were unintentional errors and will be corrected in future printings.”
According to Basic Books, the book contains a bibliography from over 200 sources. In a statement to the FT, they stated that when information is gathered from various sources, it is not necessary for the author to cite every single one.
The Financial Times noted that a major aspect of the book was the lack of recognition for the contributions of female economists. The book was officially unveiled on Wednesday evening at a celebration held in Carlton Gardens, attended by various members of the opposition’s cabinet such as Wes Streeting and Hilary Benn.
In Benn’s 2021 introduction to a report on global development for Tony Blair’s Global Change thinktank, an excerpt appears to have been altered in the book without proper credit. Benn stated that upon their election in 1997, the proportion of aid given as a portion of national income had decreased by half over the previous 18 years and was at a mere 0.26%. However, by the end of their term, they were on track to meet the goal of 0.7%. This progress was attributed to the political leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who prioritized the well-being of the world’s most impoverished individuals within the Whitehall government.
According to Reeves’s book, the UK’s aid given as a percentage of national income had decreased by half in the 18 years before Labour’s election in 1997, reaching only 0.26%. However, by the end of their time in office in 2010, they were making progress towards reaching the 0.7% target. This was attributed to the political leadership of Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as the efforts of Clare Short, the first secretary of state for international development from 1997 to 2002, who prioritized the well-being of the world’s poorest individuals within the government.
The Financial Times also discovered a section in Reeves’s book discussing philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe that bears a striking resemblance to an obituary released by the Guardian in 2001.
According to Jane O’Grady’s obituary, there was an instance where the subject was denied entry to a fancy restaurant in Boston because she was wearing trousers. However, she responded by removing them and gaining admittance.
Reeves recounted an incident where she was denied entry to a fancy restaurant in Boston because she was wearing trousers. In response, she promptly removed them.
The Financial Times discovered the similarities through their own investigation, without relying on plagiarism detection software. They referenced several instances from Wikipedia, such as a confrontation between author HG Wells and social reformer Beatrice Webb, who played a crucial role in the Fabian Society.
Beatrice expressed her disapproval of Wells’s involvement with the daughter of a prominent Fabian member. In response, Wells ridiculed the couple in his novel The New Machiavelli, portraying them as Altiora and Oscar Bailey, a naive and manipulative duo.
The Wikipedia article about Webb states that Beatrice expressed her disapproval of Wells’ involvement with the daughter of a Fabian veteran, Sydney Olivier. In response, Wells satirized the couple in his 1911 novel The New Machiavelli, portraying them as Altiora and Oscar Bailey, a deceitful and materialistic couple.