The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore the deeply contentious politics of expertise. Until recently popular discontent with technocratic elites and attacks by populist politicians significantly undermined the trust in experts as many were seen as elitist establishment figures. The pandemic notably reversed this trend (Wellcome Trust Gallup Inc., 2020). The need for sound scientific advice became painfully obvious. Yet, government reliance on expert advice has varied greatly (Cook et al., 2020). Some governments heavily drew on epidemiologists, virologists, ecologists, and economists, while others ignored or even marginalized them. Furthermore, the pandemic exposed naïve beliefs in the existence of consensus among experts. While some divergences owed to modeling choices, others were due to the politicization of science by various groups employing favored models to advance their agenda. Moreover, the crisis highlighted the long-standing tensions between technocracy and democracy (Sánchez-Cuenca, 2017; Bertsou et al., 2020). Finally, a large variation in the quality of expert advice became apparent largely after the exponential growth in pseudo-experts—COVID-19 influencers and "armchair epidemiologists"—managed to mislead millions of people (Starbird et al., 2020).


© 2022 Ahmadov, Alexiadou, Cho and Makszin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Ahmadov, A., Alexiadou, D., Cho, M. & Makszin, K. 2022, 'Editorial: The politics of expertise: Understanding interactions between policy advice, government, and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic', Frontiers in Political Science, 4, article no: 1069930. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpos.2022.1069930

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 06 December 2022
Was this page helpful?