Beetles: Biased Promotions and Persistence of False Belief
George Akerlof, Pascal Michaillat
This paper develops a theory of promotion based on evaluations by the already promoted. The already promoted show favoritism toward promotion candidates with similar beliefs, just as beetles are more prone to eat the eggs of other species. With such egg-eating bias, false beliefs may not be eliminated by the promotion system. The main application is to scientific revolutions: when tenured scientists show favoritism toward tenure candidates with similar beliefs, science may not converge to the true paradigm. The scientific fields at risk of being captured by false paradigms are those with low power. Another application is to hierarchical organizations.