Juist published in Kyklos:
The promise of potential: A study on the effectiveness of jury selection to a prestigious visual arts program
Monika Kackovic, Joop Hartog, Hans van Ophem, Nachoem Wijnberg
First published: 16 May 2022
We analyze 11 years of admission decisions to a highly selective post-graduate visual arts program. Our unique, longitudinal data includes detailed information about the selection procedures as well as the later artistic and economic achievements for both accepted and rejected applicants (n = 8,557). Regarding the predictive value of the selection procedures on later performance, our analyses show that the largest gain made is in the first, more cursory, pre-selection round. We find that weeding out less promising applicants is easier than identifying later top-performers, in terms of ex-ante expectations. The subsequent or final selection round is resource intensive and consists of several interviews with multiple jury members. Here we uncover an implicit structure of criterion variables that helps explain the ex-post admission decisions. Our simulations show that actual selection during the final round is slightly better than alternative decision rules (including a decision by lottery) in identifying applicants’ potential. Nevertheless, measured by future performance, the gain from rigorous jury assessments relative to modest and cheaper selection methods is minimal. Our conclusions are maintained under several robustness checks.