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Superstars without Talent? The Yule Distribution Controversy

Author

Listed:
  • Laura Spierdijk

    (Department of Economics and Econometrics, University of Groningen)

  • Mark Voorneveld

    (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, and Department of Econometrics and Operations Research, Tilburg University)

Abstract

Chung and Cox (1994) provided an intuitively appealing stochastic model indicating that superstars may exist regardless of talent, giving rise to the Yule distribution. We adopt a different empirical approach and test its goodness of fit using a parametric bootstrap and several powerful test statistics. Just like the discrete Pareto distribution, it is overwhelmingly rejected: it is a fairly accurate approximation of the lower quantiles of the superstar distribution but overestimates the snowball effect that makes consumers purchase records of the most successful artists. In other words, the Yule distribution captures stardom, but not superstardom. A generalization of the Yule distribution provides an excellent fit in two of the three data sets. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Spierdijk & Mark Voorneveld, 2009. "Superstars without Talent? The Yule Distribution Controversy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 648-652, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:3:p:648-652
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cox, Raymond A. K. & Kleiman, Robert T., 2000. "A stochastic model of superstardom: evidence from institutional investor's All-American Research Team," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 43-53.
    2. Victor Ginsburgh & David Throsby, 2006. "Handbook of the Eonomics of Art and Culture," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/152412, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Adler, Moshe, 2006. "Stardom and Talent," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
    4. Adler, Moshe, 1985. "Stardom and Talent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 208-212, March.
    5. Giles, David E., 2006. "Superstardom in the US popular music industry revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 68-74, July.
    6. Chung, Kee H & Cox, Raymond A K, 1994. "A Stochastic Model of Superstardom: An Application of the Yule Distribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 771-775, November.
    7. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-858, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brinja Meiseberg, 2014. "Trust the artist versus trust the tale: performance implications of talent and self-marketing in folk music," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(1), pages 9-42, February.
    2. repec:spr:compst:v:33:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00180-017-0735-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Martínez-Rodríguez, A.M. & Sáez-Castillo, A.J. & Conde-Sánchez, A., 2011. "Modelling using an extended Yule distribution," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 863-873, January.
    4. Francisco Alcalá & Miguel González-Maestre, 2012. "Artistic Creation and Intellectual Property: A Professional Career Approach," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 633-672, September.
    5. Günther G. Schulze, 2011. "Superstars," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 56 Edward Elgar Publishing.
      • Günther G. Schulze, 2003. "Superstars," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, chapter 54 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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