Omnimetrics and Awards

11 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2017

Date Written: July 31, 2017


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.

Keywords: awards, digital world, quantification, rankings, ratings, intrinsic motivation

JEL Classification: A130, C800, D460, D800, Z100

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., Omnimetrics and Awards (July 31, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6582, Available at SSRN:

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

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