We consider a laser-driven and dissipative system of two coupled cavities with Jaynes-Cummings nonlinearity. In particular, we investigate both incoherent and coherent laser driving, corresponding to different experimental situations. We employ Arnoldi time evolution as a numerical tool to solve exactly the many-body master equation describing the nonequilibrium quantum system. We evaluate the fluorescence spectrum and the spectrum of the second-order correlation function of the emitted light field. Finally, we relate the measured spectra of the dissipative quantum system to excitations of the corresponding nondissipative quantum system. Our results demonstrate how to interpret spectra obtained from dissipative quantum systems and specify what information is contained therein.