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How Effective Are Expert Tv Hosts At Saving Failing Businesses?


  • Russell S. Sobel
  • Reagan N. Sobel
  • Douglas M. Walker
  • Peter T. Calcagno


The profit and loss system is an integral part of a dynamic market economy. Losses eliminate businesses that are inefficiently managed or whose products no longer provide sufficient value. Almost a dozen popular television shows feature entertaining expert hosts claiming to “save” failing businesses with injections of physical and human capital. We undertake the first comprehensive analysis of these shows, calculating the failure rates of the businesses and analyzing the incentive structure facing the shows, networks, hosts, and participants. In general, we find that these shows are largely unsuccessful in saving failing businesses. (JEL L26, L82)

Suggested Citation

  • Russell S. Sobel & Reagan N. Sobel & Douglas M. Walker & Peter T. Calcagno, 2019. "How Effective Are Expert Tv Hosts At Saving Failing Businesses?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 9-24, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:37:y:2019:i:1:p:9-24
    DOI: 10.1111/coep.12285

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bizzozero, Paolo & Flepp, Raphael & Franck, Egon, 2016. "The importance of suspense and surprise in entertainment demand: Evidence from Wimbledon," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 47-63.
    2. Russell Sobel & J. Clark & Dwight Lee, 2007. "Freedom, barriers to entry, entrepreneurship, and economic progress," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 221-236, December.
    3. Robert A. Lawson & Kerianne Lawson, 2016. "Good Cops, Bad Cops, Whatcha Gonna Do?," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 31(Winter 20), pages 85-96.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media


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