How to find an honest expert
September 11, 2007
My car makes a funny sound; something about sticky valves. I don’t know much about cars, nor do I care to learn. If I ask a mechanic to fix everything, he’ll overcharge me because we have an information asymmetry, he knows more than I do. So how can I get my car fixed without getting robbed? This same problem pops up everywhere. How can I trust the treatment recommended by my doctor? How can I trust my financial advisor on retirement options? The problem is that I want to separate the diagnosis from the implementation. I want to get a trustworthy mechanic to tell me what’s wrong for a flat fee, then I’ll shop around for the lowest cost mechanic. This sounds like a job for the Internet. If we had a cheap & reliable source for expert second opinions, it would reduce the information asymmetry and, hopefully, reduce prices.