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In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers.
Soc Sci Med. 2015 Jun; 134:30-42.SS

Abstract

We investigate the impact of peer competition on longevity using a unique historical data set of 144 prominent music composers born in the 19th century. We approximate for peer competition measuring (a) the number or (b) the share of composers located in the same area and time, (c) the time spent in one of the main cities for classical music, and (d) the quality of fellow composers. These measures suggest that composers' longevity is reduced, if they located in agglomerations with a larger group of peers or of a higher quality. The point estimates imply that, all else equal, a one percent increase in the number of composers reduces composer longevity by ∼ 7.2 weeks. Our analysis showed that the utilized concentration measures are stronger than the personal factors in determining longevity, indicating that individuals' backgrounds have minimal impact on mitigating the effect of experienced peer pressure. The negative externality of peer competition is experienced in all cities, fairly independent of their population size. Our results are reaffirmed using an instrumental variable approach and are consistent throughout a range of robustness tests. In addition to the widely known economic benefits associated with competition, these findings suggest that significant negative welfare externalities exist as well.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics, Denmark. Electronic address: kjb@sam.sdu.dk.London School of Economics, Department of Social Policy, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Historical Article
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25880825

Citation

Borowiecki, Karol Jan, and Georgios Kavetsos. "In Fatal Pursuit of Immortal Fame: Peer Competition and Early Mortality of Music Composers." Social Science & Medicine (1982), vol. 134, 2015, pp. 30-42.
Borowiecki KJ, Kavetsos G. In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers. Soc Sci Med. 2015;134:30-42.
Borowiecki, K. J., & Kavetsos, G. (2015). In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 134, 30-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.052
Borowiecki KJ, Kavetsos G. In Fatal Pursuit of Immortal Fame: Peer Competition and Early Mortality of Music Composers. Soc Sci Med. 2015;134:30-42. PubMed PMID: 25880825.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers. AU - Borowiecki,Karol Jan, AU - Kavetsos,Georgios, Y1 - 2015/03/31/ PY - 2015/4/17/entrez PY - 2015/4/17/pubmed PY - 2015/12/15/medline KW - Culture KW - Geographic concentration KW - Mortality KW - Urban history KW - Well-being SP - 30 EP - 42 JF - Social science & medicine (1982) JO - Soc Sci Med VL - 134 N2 - We investigate the impact of peer competition on longevity using a unique historical data set of 144 prominent music composers born in the 19th century. We approximate for peer competition measuring (a) the number or (b) the share of composers located in the same area and time, (c) the time spent in one of the main cities for classical music, and (d) the quality of fellow composers. These measures suggest that composers' longevity is reduced, if they located in agglomerations with a larger group of peers or of a higher quality. The point estimates imply that, all else equal, a one percent increase in the number of composers reduces composer longevity by ∼ 7.2 weeks. Our analysis showed that the utilized concentration measures are stronger than the personal factors in determining longevity, indicating that individuals' backgrounds have minimal impact on mitigating the effect of experienced peer pressure. The negative externality of peer competition is experienced in all cities, fairly independent of their population size. Our results are reaffirmed using an instrumental variable approach and are consistent throughout a range of robustness tests. In addition to the widely known economic benefits associated with competition, these findings suggest that significant negative welfare externalities exist as well. SN - 1873-5347 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25880825/In_fatal_pursuit_of_immortal_fame:_Peer_competition_and_early_mortality_of_music_composers_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0277-9536(15)00205-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -