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Harmonious Relations: Quality transmission among composers in the very long run

Maria Marchenko, Karol Borowiecki and Nicholas Ford

Department of Economics Working Papers from Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics

Abstract: Most creatives acquire professional talents by learning from others, but in most settings it is difficult to estimate the existence of long-term effects. This paper explores the transmission of skills over a period of more than seven centuries by focusing on the case of music composers. We ask the question: how does a composer’s quality influence the quality of the composers he or she teaches? Our analysis builds on a unique dataset of 17,433 composers from around the world since the fourteenth century. By comparing actual teacher–student pairs with plausible counterfactual pairs and by using a two-stage framework, we show a strong effect of quality transmission. Moreover, we find quality transmission persists across multiple generations: from teacher to student, and subsequently to student’s student and so on. Our results provide new insights on drivers of creativity over the very long term, as well as the influence of teachers on students' achievements.

Keywords: creativity; transmission of ideas; music history; teacher influence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 J24 N30 O31 Z11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-dem and nep-his
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https://epub.wu.ac.at/8642/1/wp321.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Harmonious relations: quality transmission among composers in the very long run (2023) Downloads
Working Paper: Harmonious Relations: Quality transmission among composers in the very long run (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Harmonious Relations: Quality transmission among composers in the very long run (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Harmonious Relations: Quality transmission among composers in the very long run (2022) Downloads
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