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Superstars versus Celebrities - Big Man or Big Name?

Egon Franck () and Stephan Nuesch ()

No 49, Working Papers from University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU)

Abstract: Economic theories of superstar emergence concentrate on the perceived quality of the star’s performance. Thus superstars are identified by perceived talent superiority. Information technology and mass media have recently released a new type of stars: celebrities who are just known for being well-known. Most of these short-lived celebrities are ordinary people who have no special talent at all. Nevertheless, they enjoy star-like attention. We argue that the demand for celebrities is based on the human desire to gossip; namely to discuss, share interpretations or judgments. Celebrities qualify well for gossip since information about them is easy to find and share. The more popular a celebrity is, the easier gossip circulation becomes which then fuels further popularity and creates a self-energizing bandwagon effect. Media plays a crucial role in selecting for whom it triggers this bandwagon effect.

Keywords: Superstars; celebrities; popularity; bandwagon effect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D11 J44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
Date: 2006
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul
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http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/49_ISU_full.pdf First version, 2006 (application/pdf)

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