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The Social Determinants of Recognition: The Interplay between Status and Social Ties in Peer Audience Evaluations

4 July 2016
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 2 )
Building on sociological research that examines the allocation of material and symbolic rewards in peer evaluations, we argue that the recognition of cultural producers’ work varies with both their status and social ties to the audience members who evaluate them. We study the influence of both mechanisms and their interplay within the context of the Norwegian advertising industry. Specifically, we looked at how cultural producers’ status and social ties to jury members affect their chances of being rewarded in “The Silver Tag” – one of the main digital advertising awards contests in Norway – during the period 2003-2010. While our findings provide strong support for status-based rewards allocation, the positive effects of status may be more circumscribed than previously thought. When accounting for the existence of previous connection between audience members and cultural producers, we find that cultural producers with direct ties to evaluators are more likely to be evaluated favorably. This effect is twice as big as the effect of status. Direct ties also negatively moderate the effect of status on the likelihood of being rewarded. We argue that these ties introduce tie-specific familiarity that makes audience members less sensitive to status signals. Our findings expose the interplay between cultural producers’ status and social ties in shaping audience members’ evaluations.
Ferriani, Simone