Practice Makes Perfect: On Professional Standards
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.
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