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The effect of individual professional critics on books’ sales: capturing selection biases from observable and unobservable factors

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  • Marco Caliendo

    ()

  • Michel Clement

    ()

  • Edlira Shehu

    ()

Abstract

We propose a combined approach of propensity score matching with difference-in-differences methods for reducing selection biases of products being reviewed by critics. Critics’ decision to review products may be driven by observable (e.g., star power) and unobservable (e.g., critics’ individual preferences) factors, raising the question of reverse causality and selection biases. Our proposed approach enables to rigorously control for selection biases by observable and unobservable characteristics. We apply our methodological framework on data from the German book market and estimate the sales effect of a well-known TV critic. We identify substantial selection effects of individual critics, which result in serious underestimation of the short-term effect (up to 29 %) and the long-term effect (up to 37 %). The results emphasize the relevance of the proposed methodological framework by demonstrating that observable and unobservable factors drive selection effects. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Caliendo & Michel Clement & Edlira Shehu, 2015. "The effect of individual professional critics on books’ sales: capturing selection biases from observable and unobservable factors," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 423-436, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:mktlet:v:26:y:2015:i:4:p:423-436
    DOI: 10.1007/s11002-015-9391-9
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11002-015-9391-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anita Elberse & Jehoshua Eliashberg, 2003. "Demand and Supply Dynamics for Sequentially Released Products in International Markets: The Case of Motion Pictures," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(3), pages 329-354.
    2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    3. David J. Reibstein & Paul W. Farris, 1995. "Market Share and Distribution: A Generalization, a Speculation, and Some Implications," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 190-202.
    4. Michel Clement & Dennis Proppe & Armin Rott, 2007. "Do Critics Make Bestsellers? Opinion Leaders and the Success of Books," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 77-105.
    5. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
    6. Jonah Berger & Alan T. Sorensen & Scott J. Rasmussen, 2010. "Positive Effects of Negative Publicity: When Negative Reviews Increase Sales," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(5), pages 815-827, 09-10.
    7. Edlira Shehu & Tim Prostka & Christina Schmidt-Stölting & Michel Clement & Eva Blömeke, 2014. "The influence of book advertising on sales in the German fiction book market," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(2), pages 109-130, May.
    8. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
    9. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
    10. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
    11. Gerda Gemser & Martine Oostrum & Mark Leenders, 2007. "The impact of film reviews on the box office performance of art house versus mainstream motion pictures," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 31(1), pages 43-63, March.
    12. Peter Boatwright & Suman Basuroy & Wagner Kamakura, 2007. "Reviewing the reviewers: The impact of individual film critics on box office performance," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 401-425, December.
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    Keywords

    Critics; Reviewer; Propensity score matching; Difference-in-difference; Selection effects; M30; C520; L820;

    JEL classification:

    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General

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