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Efficiency and Inefficiency in the Ranking in Competitions: the Case of the Queen Elisabeth Music Contest

Herbert Glejser and Bruno Heyndels

Journal of Cultural Economics, 2001, vol. 25, issue 2, 109-129

Abstract: The Queen Elisabeth Contest is one of the most prestigious competitions in classical music. For both the artists who participate and for the public, it is important that the ranking of the finalists be affected as little as possible by exogenous factors relating to the organisation of the competition. Still, it is impossible to control for all contingencies. Thus, the ranking can be expected to deviate from that obtained in a hypothetical full-information assessment process. As such, the ranking may be unfair to the candidates and inefficient in providing information to the consumer. Deviations from the full-information ideal may result from self-selection of candidates, from positive information at the margin, and from differences in circumstances. Analysing data on all piano and violin versions of the Contest over the period 1956–1999, we find strong evidence of biases in the rankingprocess. Confirming previous research, we find that musicians who perform later in the final week or later on a given day in this week (on average) obtain a better classification. Further, in the piano competitions women obtain lower rankings and, prior to 1990, finalists from the Soviet Union obtained higherrankings than average. The jury appreciates innovation in the sense that musicians who perform a more recently composed concerto obtain a higher rank. Finally – especiallyfor violin – the candidate's decision to perform a popular concerto leadsto a lower ranking. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Keywords: classical music; contests; expert information (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2001
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