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Omnimetrics and Awards


  • Bruno S. Frey


The digital revolution has led to a quantification of ever more areas of human life and society. At the same time, there is an explosion of the number of awards, which by their very nature are based on non-quantified performance. Will quantification take over completely, leading to “omnimetrics”? The paper argues that this will not be the case. An economic explanation for the paradoxical existence of two totally different developments is offered: The value of awards is the higher, the stronger is the effort to quantify. The two developments depend on each other. The more digitalized the world is, the more non-quantified and non-quantifiable aspects of life are cherished. The quantification mania not only raises the value of awards but also the importance of personal relationships, of friendship, love and admiration. While digitalization will proceed and will determine increasingly larger parts of our lives, it is hypothesized that the non-quantified aspects of life will not disappear but flourish.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey, 2017. "Omnimetrics and Awards," CESifo Working Paper Series 6582, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6582

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frey, Bruno & Gallus, Jana, 2017. "Honours versus Money: The Economics of Awards," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198798507.
    2. Bruno S. Frey, 1997. "Not Just for the Money," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1183, April.
    3. Jana Gallus & Bruno S. Frey, 2016. "Awards: A strategic management perspective," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(8), pages 1699-1714, August.
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    More about this item


    awards; digital world; quantification; rankings; ratings; intrinsic motivation;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • D46 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Value Theory
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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