Chapter

Ranking and Rating

Joel Best

in Everyone's a Winner

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267169
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948488 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267169.003.0005
Ranking and Rating

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People pay attention to ratings and rankings because they would like to make good choices, and it helps to have information to guide them. Ratings seem to give objective information to clarify the distinctions between alternatives. Ratings and rankings resemble other aspects of our self-congratulatory culture. Ratings and rankings tend to be a way of celebrating excellence just as prizes proliferate, just as schools award more educational honors, and just as people deem an ever wider range of behaviors as heroic. Most often, rankings accentuate the positive: search engines identify vastly more “ten best” lists than “ten worst” lists. The emphasis with rankings, as with prizes, is on identifying the best. However, the increase in ratings and rankings differs in some important ways from that of other signs of status affluence. Moreover, ratings are more likely to be consequential. People who win prizes or receive academic honors often gain a leg up in future competitions.

Keywords: ratings; ranking; academic honors; competitions; status affluence

Chapter.  8330 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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