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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

"Winner-Take-All" Markets in the Creative Industries

Mark Lutter

In winner-take-all markets, the goods and services offered differ only slightly in quality, but their success on the market is extremely disparate. The number of winners is scant compared to the legions of losers. In this market, performance, quality, and talent do not translate proportionately into success - performance and success go their separate ways. An artist earning more than a hundred times the average income does not necessarily have a hundred times more talent. Because the chances of succeeding are so small, the likelihood of earning an above-average income - or of surviving on the market at all - is slim. What motivates the people who decide to venture into these markets? What factors influence their decision to invest? How do winner-take-all markets evolve? This research project aims to answer these questions both theoretically and empirically, focusing primarily on the social forces behind the development of these markets and their participants’ vastly uneven prospects for success. Empirically, the project examines markets in the creative industries, drawing on structural data from the film industry and standardized surveys of artists, musicians, actors, and other creative professionals. Project duration: May 2010 to Dezember 2018.
Lutter, Mark. 2013. "Strukturen ungleichen Erfolgs: Winner-take-all-Konzentrationen und ihre sozialen Entstehungskontexte auf flexiblen Arbeitsmärkten." Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 65 (4): 597-622.
Lutter, Mark. 2015. "Do Women Suffer from Network Closure? The Moderating Effect of Social Capital on Gender Inequality in a Project-Based Labor Market, 1929 to 2010." American Sociological Review 80 (2): 329-58.
Lutter, Mark, and Martin Schröder. 2016. "Who Becomes a Tenured Professor, and Why? Panel Data Evidence from German Sociology, 1980-2013." Research Policy 45 (5): 999-1013.
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