What Do Book Awards Signal? An Analysis of Book Awards in Three Countries

27 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2016

See all articles by Erwin Dekker

Erwin Dekker

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Marielle de Jong

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Students

Date Written: August 3, 2016


This paper analyzes the role of awards as quality signals in the book industry. Drawing on a novel dataset of book awards it examines the level of consensus between expert juries (as measured by awards and nominations), active consumption (as measured by consumer ratings), passive consumption (as measured by sales) and long-term consecration (as measured by inclusion in anthologies) in the book industry of the United States, France and the Netherlands/Flanders and the American movie industry. It finds that there is virtually no overlap in the books that receive recognition by different expert juries, in stark contrast to similar research in the movie industry. Only in the U.S. we find some evidence of a consensus between expert book juries, active and passive consumption and long-term consecration. From this comparison we draw theoretical implications, drawing on the theory of economic coordination regimes by Karpik, about the different meaning of awards as signals of quality. In particular we argue that when authenticity is important, we should not expect quality signals to converge, but when authenticity is less important, quality signals should be expected to converge more.

Keywords: book industry, awards, economic coordination regimes, signaling, movie industry

JEL Classification: D83, Z1

Suggested Citation

Dekker, Erwin and de Jong, Marielle, What Do Book Awards Signal? An Analysis of Book Awards in Three Countries (August 3, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2817852 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2817852

Erwin Dekker (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA

Marielle De Jong

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Students ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062

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