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Practice Makes Perfect: On Professional Standards

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  • Sällström Matthews, S.E.

Abstract

Practising is a matter of increasing the reliability of ones skills rather than relying on a tool or a strike of genius to get it right. Once perfection has been achieved the individual will aim for higher quality since the effort is more likely to be worthwhile. Furthermore because the returns to achieving perfection are higher the harder it is to achieve, the perfectionist equilibrium only arises in situations where genius is rare and reliability is low. From this follows that as tools improve, even though perfection then has become easier to achieve, professional standards may nonetheless decline. This mechanism is captured in an oligopoly model, where the failure rate and the quality are endogenously determined.

Suggested Citation

  • Sällström Matthews, S.E., 2007. "Practice Makes Perfect: On Professional Standards," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0728, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0728
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    File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research-files/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe0728.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard E. Caves, 2003. "Contracts Between Art and Commerce," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 73-83, Spring.
    2. Jaskold Gabszewicz, J. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Price competition, quality and income disparities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 340-359, June.
    3. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-858, December.
    5. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-267, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; skill; technological change; quality; standards; learning; cultural economics; imperfect competition; patent race.;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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