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Efficiency and Inefficiency in the Ranking in Competitions: the Case of the Queen Elisabeth Music Contest

  • Herbert Glejser
  • Bruno Heyndels
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    The Queen Elisabeth Contest is one of the most prestigious competitions in classical music. For both the artists who participate and for the public, it is important that the ranking of the finalists be affected as little as possible by exogenous factors relating to the organisation of the competition. Still, it is impossible to control for all contingencies. Thus, the ranking can be expected to deviate from that obtained in a hypothetical full-information assessment process. As such, the ranking may be unfair to the candidates and inefficient in providing information to the consumer. Deviations from the full-information ideal may result from self-selection of candidates, from positive information at the margin, and from differences in circumstances. Analysing data on all piano and violin versions of the Contest over the period 1956–1999, we find strong evidence of biases in the rankingprocess. Confirming previous research, we find that musicians who perform later in the final week or later on a given day in this week (on average) obtain a better classification. Further, in the piano competitions women obtain lower rankings and, prior to 1990, finalists from the Soviet Union obtained higherrankings than average. The jury appreciates innovation in the sense that musicians who perform a more recently composed concerto obtain a higher rank. Finally – especiallyfor violin – the candidate's decision to perform a popular concerto leadsto a lower ranking. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Cultural Economics.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 109-129

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:25:y:2001:i:2:p:109-129
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    1. 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.
    2. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
    3. Renate Schubert, 1999. "Financial Decision-Making: Are Women Really More Risk-Averse?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 381-385, May.
    4. FLÔRES, R. G. & GINSBURGH, Jr. and V. A., . "The Queen Elisabeth musical competition: how fair is the final ranking?," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1196, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Throsby, David, 1994. "The Production and Consumption of the Arts: A View of Cultural Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-29, March.
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