Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Expert Failure


Part of Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society

  • Date Published: April 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107138469

£ 74.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The humble idea that experts are ordinary human beings leads to surprising conclusions about how to get the best possible expert advice. All too often, experts have monopoly power because of licensing restrictions or because they are government bureaucrats protected from both competition and the consequences of their decisions. This book argues that, in the market for expert opinion, we need real competition in which rival experts may have different opinions and new experts are free to enter. But the idea of breaking up expert monopolies has far-reaching implications for public administration, forensic science, research science, economics, America's military-industrial complex, and all domains of expert knowledge. Roger Koppl develops a theory of experts and expert failure, and uses a wide range of examples - from forensic science to fashion - to explain the applications of his theory, including state regulation of economic activity.

    • Explores the root causes of expert failure, including forensic science errors
    • Creates a general theory of experts incorporating the social constructionist work of Berger and Luckmann, and Schutz
    • Develops and clarifies the concept of 'dispersed knowledge', which can be applied to the production and distribution of knowledge in society, the economy and business
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'If you are skeptical of elitist experts, cronies in government or business, but fearful of the populist uprising against them, you will like reading this book in the intellectual tradition of B. Mandeville, Adam Smith, and F. A. Hayek.' Vernon Smith, Nobel Laureate, Professor of Economics and Law, Chapman University, California

    'The burgeoning literature on expertise, which crosses several disciplines, has needed an accessible, sophisticated, critical, synthetic overview that explains the importance of the issues. Roger Koppl has supplied one at last, and much can be learned from it.' Stephen Turner, Distinguished University Professor, University of South Florida

    'In this lucid and wide-ranging examination, Roger Koppl sets forth several lines of thought that speak to this servant-master dichotomy. The book does not provide a recipe for creating servants and avoiding masters, but it provides a cogent framework for exploring this problem of human governance, closing with the wisdom: value expertise but fear expert power.' Richard Wagner, Harris Professor of Economics, George Mason University, Washington, DC

    'The growth of the administrative state, more intricate financial regulation, and the spread of behavioral economics as a basis for policy means that we are increasingly living under the rule of experts. Roger Koppl's book is an in-depth look at the epistemic and incentive problems created by what may appear to some as simply evidence-based policy. But much more is at stake here as Koppl revealingly demonstrates.' Mario J. Rizzo, Associate Professor of Economics, New York University

    'In Expert Failure, Roger Koppl has written a commanding synoptic and authoritative book on the fundamental problem of 'experts', when knowledge is not uniformly distributed. Koppl argues for polyarchy over hierarchy, covering an enormous range from Socrates, to the administrative state, to the tacit knowledge in the economy and the dangers of the 'entangled deep state'. Read this book.' Stuart Kauffman, FRSC, Emeritus Professor, University of Pennsylvania

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107138469
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Nature and History of the Problem:
    2. Is there a literature on experts?
    3. Two historical episodes in the problem of experts
    4. Recurrent themes in the theory of experts
    Part II. Foundations of the Theory of Experts:
    5. Notes on some economic terms and ideas
    6. The division of knowledge through Mandeville
    7. The division of Knowledge after Mandeville
    8. The supply and demand for expert opinion
    9. Experts and their ecology
    Part III. Expert Failure:
    10. Expert failure and market structure
    11. Further sources of expert failure
    12. Expert failure in the entangled deep state.

  • Author

    Roger Koppl, Syracuse University, New York
    Roger Koppl is Professor of Finance in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and a faculty fellow in the University's Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, Forbes, and The Washington Post.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.