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Experts’ awards and economic success: evidence from an Italian literary prize

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  • Michela Ponzo
  • Vincenzo Scoppa

Abstract

Product quality is often unobservable ex-ante and consumers rely on experts’ judgments, sometimes in the form of ratings or awards. Do awards affect consumers’ choices or, conversely, are they conferred on the most popular products? To disentangle this issue, we use data about the most important Italian literary prize, the “Strega Prize,” undertaking two different estimation strategies to evaluate the impact that winning the Prize has on book sales. First, we adopt a regression discontinuity design using a measure of book sales as a dependent variable and as a forcing variable (proxying for intrinsic book quality) the jury votes received by each nominated book in the competition. We find that the Strega Prize has a very strong impact on sales. Second, by using weekly data on appearances on bestseller lists, we estimate a difference-in-differences model in which we compare sales performance of treated and control books before the award is conferred with their respective performances afterward. The results confirm a huge influence of the Prize on book sales and show that most of the impact occurs in the weeks following the announcement of the Prize. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2015. "Experts’ awards and economic success: evidence from an Italian literary prize," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(4), pages 341-367, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:39:y:2015:i:4:p:341-367
    DOI: 10.1007/s10824-015-9239-4
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    1. Per la gloria o per il denaro?
      by info@crusoe.it in Robinson Crusoe on 2013-10-18 15:00:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Michela Ponzo & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2015. "Experts’ awards and economic success: evidence from an Italian literary prize," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(4), pages 341-367, November.
    2. Féidhlim P. McGowan, 2024. "The rule of tome? Longer novels are more likely to win literary awards," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 48(2), pages 311-329, June.
    3. Trilce Navarrete & Karol J. Borowiecki, 2015. "Change in access after digitization: Ethnographic collections in Wikipedia," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-10-2015, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Oct 2015.
    4. Martina Dattilo & Fabio Padovano & Yvon Rocaboy, 2023. "More is worse: the evolution of quality of the UNESCO World Heritage List and its determinants," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 47(1), pages 71-96, March.
    5. Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2023. "Famous after death: The effect of a writer's death on book sales," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 210(C), pages 210-225.
    6. Nicolas Lagios & Pierre-Guillaume Méon, 2021. "Experts, Information, Reviews, and Coordination: Evidence on How Literary Prizes Affect Sales," Working Papers CEB 21-011, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural economics; Awards; Literary prize; Book sales; Product quality; Regression discontinuity design; Difference-in-differences model; Z10; Z11; L15; L80; M30; D12;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L80 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - General
    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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