Distrust in Experts and the Origins of Disagreement

64 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2016 Last revised: 1 Apr 2018

Ing-Haw Cheng

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business

Alice Hsiaw

Brandeis University - International Business School

Date Written: March 27, 2018

Abstract

Disagreement about the state of the world and expert credibility often go together in areas such as economics, climate change, and medicine. We argue this correlated disagreement arises because individuals mistake credibility as a primitive of the model when determining how much weight to give an expert's signals, and use the signals to learn about credibility before forming posteriors. Furthermore, this leads to several testable predictions: 1) Differing first impressions about credibility create persistent disagreement about the state; 2) Encountering experts in different order generates disagreement; and 3) Confirmation bias, overconfidence, and their opposites arise endogenously depending on the path of signals. Our work emphasizes that polarized disagreement about real-world issues may be fundamentally due to erroneous learning about credibility.

Keywords: disagreement, trust, polarization, learning, expectations, experts

JEL Classification: D83, D84, D91

Suggested Citation

Cheng, Ing-Haw and Hsiaw, Alice, Distrust in Experts and the Origins of Disagreement (March 27, 2018). Tuck School of Business Working Paper No. 2864563. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2864563 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2864563

Ing-Haw Cheng (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Alice Hsiaw

Brandeis University - International Business School ( email )

Mailstop 32
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.brandeis.edu/~ahsiaw/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
254
rank
108,394
Abstract Views
1,127
PlumX