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date: 07 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The division of labor creates a division of knowledge, which creates expertise and the problem of experts. The rule of experts exists when experts have an epistemic monopoly and choose for others. Generally, experts may have power that threatens individual autonomy. Competition tends to dissipate the power of experts, although the details of market structure matter. Even well-meaning experts may fail because they have bounded rationality. Epistemic monopoly increases the risks of error and expert failure; competition reduces them. Information choice theory is an economic theory of experts. It may help in the design of epistemic systems, which are agent-based processes viewed from perspective of their knowledge properties. Epistemic engineering studies the design principles of epistemic systems. Economists should consider the epistemic properties of alternative institutions to minimize the problem of experts and avoid the rule of experts. Applications discussed include religion, law and justice, and medical research.

Keywords: bounded rationality, epistemic engineering, epistemic monopoly, epistemic systems, error, expert, expert failure, expertise, information choice

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