Towards an Economics of Awards

11 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2017

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Jana Gallus

UCLA Anderson

Date Written: February 2017


Awards are a widespread phenomenon. They cater to the fundamental desire for social recognition and serve as a valuable incentive to influence behaviour. The study of awards such as medals, prizes and titles has in recent years gained momentum in economics, complementing the longstanding focus on material incentives. To evaluate the effectiveness of awards as a motivator is difficult as the effect of awards must be separated from the fact that awards are meant to be given to the best. We show how research on awards has advanced over the last couple of years, thus providing points of departure for future work.

Keywords: Awards, Esteem, Incentives, Monetary rewards, Motivation, Performance

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Gallus, Jana, Towards an Economics of Awards (February 2017). Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 31, Issue 1, pp. 190-200, 2017, Available at SSRN: or

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Jana Gallus

UCLA Anderson ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States


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