Economics

Expertise: Sometimes blinding and costly

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Science  13 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6189, pp. 1239
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6189.1239-f

Underwater Indonesian seaweed farmer.

PHOTO: STINATANO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Experts trying to solve global challenges often call for new technologies and access to information, but they might do better to take a harder look at what they've been doing all along, to see whether they've missed some simple solution that could make a dramatic difference. Building on literature in economics and learning sciences, Hanna et al. studied Indonesian seaweed farmers and found that, despite years of experience that showed the importance of factors such as the spacing of pods during planting, the farmers hadn't noticed that adjusting pod size might be useful as well. This work may help improve the way technologies and training are deployed, in agriculture and beyond.

www.dartmouth.edu/∼jschwartzstein/papers/NoticingMain.pdf

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