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Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Elgar original reference

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

The recent era of economic turbulence has generated a growing enthusiasm for an increase in new and original economic insights based around the concepts of reciprocity and social enterprise. This stimulating and thought-provoking Handbook not only encourages and supports this growth, but also emphasises and expands upon new topics and issues within the economics discourse.

Chapter 27: Prizes and awards

Bruno S. Frey and Susanne Neckermann

Subjects: economics and finance, behavioural and experimental economics, economic psychology, public sector economics, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


Orders, medals, decorations, titles and other honours can be found everywhere in society. Prizes and awards exist in monarchies as well as in republics. Even in the United States, a country that separated from the British monarchy and explicitly chose the republic as a form of governance, the president and Congress bestow medals such as the Congressional Gold Medal created in 1776, the Presidential Medal of Freedom created in 1945, or the Presidential Citizens Medal, created in 1969. In the military sector, purple hearts and bronze and silver stars are handed out quite liberally, and at an increasing rate (Cowen 2000: 93). In communist countries, such as the former Soviet Union or the German Democratic Republic, a flood of orders, medals and titles (such as ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ or ‘Hero of Socialist Labour’) was distributed. This flood of awards is also typical for dictatorships. In the arts, culture, sports and the media. Prominent examples are the Academy Awards (Oscars), the Emmy award for outstanding achievement in television in the United States, the Grammy award for artistic significance in the field of recording, or the Booker Prize and the Pulitzer Prize in literature. Arts institutions, such as museums, bestow titles, such as benefactor or patron, upon their supporters. In chess, there are International Masters (IM) and Great Masters (GM). Athletes get the honour of being ‘Sports Personality of the Year’, and are admitted into one of the many Halls of Fame.

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