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Superstars versus Celebrities - Big Man or Big Name?

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  • Egon Franck
  • Stephan Nüesch

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich
    Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Economic theories of superstar emergence concentrate on the perceived quality of the star’s performance. Thus superstars are identified by perceived talent superiority. Information technology and mass media have recently released a new type of stars: celebrities who are just known for being well-known. Most of these short-lived celebrities are ordinary people who have no special talent at all. Nevertheless, they enjoy star-like attention. We argue that the demand for celebrities is based on the human desire to gossip; namely to discuss, share interpretations or judgments. Celebrities qualify well for gossip since information about them is easy to find and share. The more popular a celebrity is, the easier gossip circulation becomes which then fuels further popularity and creates a self-energizing bandwagon effect. Media plays a crucial role in selecting for whom it triggers this bandwagon effect.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/49_ISU_full.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0049.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0049

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Keywords: Superstars; celebrities; popularity; bandwagon effect;

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  1. Hamlen, William A, Jr, 1994. "Variety and Superstardom in Popular Music," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 395-406, July.
  2. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1988. "The Economics of Rising Stars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 155-66, March.
  3. Sherwin Rosen & Allen Sanderson, 2000. "Labor Markets in Professional Sports," NBER Working Papers 7573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
  5. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  6. Adler, Moshe, 1985. "Stardom and Talent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 208-12, March.
  7. Hamlen, William A, Jr, 1991. "Superstardom in Popular Music: Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 729-33, November.
  8. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
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