Is Silence Golden? An Inquiry into the Meaning of Silence in Professional Product Evaluations

23 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2014

See all articles by Wagner A. Kamakura

Wagner A. Kamakura

Rice University

Suman Basuroy

University of Oklahoma - Division of Marketing

Peter Boatwright

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Expert product recommendations, Expert consensus, Critic silence, Experience goods, Multinomial logit, Latent measurement model

Suggested Citation

Kamakura, Wagner A. and Basuroy, Suman and Boatwright, Peter, Is Silence Golden? An Inquiry into the Meaning of Silence in Professional Product Evaluations (2006). Kamakura, Wagner A., Basuroy, Suman and Boatwright, Peter, Is Silence Golden? An Inquiry into the Meaning of Silence In Professional Product Evaluations (2006). Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Vol. 2006, No. 4. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2394094

Wagner A. Kamakura

Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States
(713) 348-6307 (Phone)

Suman Basuroy

University of Oklahoma - Division of Marketing ( email )

United States

Peter Boatwright (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

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