Economics at your fingertips  

Experts, Information, Reviews, and Coordination: Evidence on How Literary Prizes Affect Sales

Nicolas Lagios and Pierre-Guillaume Méon

No 21-011, Working Papers CEB from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: We study the causal effect of literary awards on book sales, using France's most prestigious prize, the Goncourt. For this, we implement a regression discontinuity design, taking advantage of the fact that a committee of experts gives the prize to the book receiving the most votes. We observe that the Goncourt increases sales by 350 percent and that this effect is larger for books that sold fewer copies before the award. Additional results show that the prize results in more reviews on Amazon but increases the probability that they are negative. Finally, we report that the effect on sales is partly driven by an increase in word of mouth. These findings are consistent with a model where the Goncourt provides information on the existence of a book and where consumers use the prize as a quality signal and a coordination device but, as a result, read books that are too far from their tastes. This interpretation is backed by the finding that, despite its positive effect on sales, the Goncourt des Lycéens, a prize based on the same list of books as the Goncourt but awarded by a group of high-school students whose tastes are arguably doser to the public's than to those of experts, has no effect on the sentiment of reviews.

Keywords: Awards; Literary prizes; Sales; Experts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 L15 L82 Z11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-07-27
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

Published by:

Downloads: (external link) Full text for the whole work, or for a work part (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from ...

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers CEB from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Benoit Pauwels ().

Page updated 2024-05-07
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/328423