What Do Book Awards Signal? An Analysis of Book Awards in Three Countries
27 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2016
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
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