Expertise and the Wisdom of Crowds: Whose Judgments to Trust and When


The Wisdom of Crowds describes the fact that aggregating a group’s estimate regarding unknown values is often a better strategy than selecting even an expert’s opinion. The efficacy of this strategy, however, depends on biases being non-systematic and everyone being able to make a meaningful assessment. In situations where these conditions do not hold, expertise seems more likely to produce the best outcome. Amateurs and professional judgments are examined in a subjective domain – reviews of shows from an Arts festival – asking which group provides better information to the potential theatre-goer. In conclusion, while following the crowd produces good results, where a smaller number of reviews are available, taking expertise into account improves their usefulness and discrimination between shows.

Back to Table of Contents