Cascading Expert Failure

33 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021 Last revised: 3 Aug 2021

See all articles by Jon Murphy

Jon Murphy

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2, 2021


A problem that has plagued market failure discussions is: "why does bad policy exist and persist?" Various schools of thought have answered that question, but I argue that the explanations, while correct, are incomplete. In this paper, I apply the expert failure literature to the problem of economic policy discussions to show that 1) failed advice can lead to other experts to give poor advice and 2) that a consequence of expert failure is that failed policy can persist even if the expert acknowledges the advice has failed. I demonstrate these conclusions with a case study on COVID-19 testing in the United States.

Keywords: Market Failure, Expert Failure, Externality, Asymmetrical Information, Public Policy, Experts, COVID-19

JEL Classification: D62, D82, K20

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Jonathan, Cascading Expert Failure (August 2, 2021). GMU Working Paper in Economics Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Jonathan Murphy (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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