Cascading Expert Failure
39 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021 Last revised: 18 Jul 2022
Date Written: May 30, 2022
Recent research has shown how experts may fail in their duty as advisors by providing advice that leads to a worse outcome than that anticipated by the user of expert opinion. However, those models have focused on the immediate effects of the failure on experts and nonexperts. Using a cascading network failure model, I show how expert failure can cascade throughout multiple sectors, even those not necessarily purchasing the expert opinion. Consequently, even relatively small failures end up having outsized aggregate effects. To provide evidence of my theory, I look at two case studies of COVID expert advice to show how one seemingly minor failure ended up contributing to the pandemic. I conclude with a discussion on institutional frameworks that can prevent such cascades.
Keywords: Market Failure, Public Policy, Experts, COVID-19, Cascades, Network Analysis
JEL Classification: D42, D47, D85, L14, L84
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation