Is silence golden? An inquiry into the meaning of silence in professional product evaluations
The world today is rife with product recommendations from professional critics and experts that are available from numerous sources—television, magazines, radio, internet, etc. Very often these recommendations shape our decisions and choices. In this study, we investigate two main issues regarding expert opinions. First, we present an approach that uses information available from every expert, including those who are silent about the product, to obtain a consensus measure of expert opinion. Our model also allows us to obtain a measure of how informative each expert is and how their information content may vary by type of review. More importantly, our overall measure of expert opinion weights the opinion of each expert based on how informative they are at the particular quality level of the product being evaluated. In other words, we provide consumers with a method that reconciles conflicting expert opinions into a summary measure. The second issue we investigate in this paper is the meaning of “silence” in expert opinions. Our model demonstrates that the fact that an expert is silent about a product may imply a positive or a negative review, depending on the expert. We use data from the motion pictures industry to illustrate our approach. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006
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- Michaely, Roni & Womack, Kent L, 1999. "Conflict of Interest and the Credibility of Underwriter Analyst Recommendations," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 653-86.
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