Skip to main content

Expert Judgment Versus Public Opinion – Evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest


For centuries, there have been discussions as to whether only experts can judge the quality of cultural output, or whether the taste of the public also has merit. This paper tries to answer that question empirically, using national finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. We show that experts are better judges of quality in the sense that the outcome of finals judged by experts is less sensitive to factors unrelated to quality than the outcome of finals judged by public opinion. Yet, experts are not perfect; their judgment does still depend on such factors. This is also the case in the European finals of the contest.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Courneya, K.S. and Carron, A.V. (1991) “Effects of Travel and Length of Home Stand/Road Trip on the Home Advantage.” Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 13(1): 42–49.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cowen, T. (1998) In Praise of Commercial Culture, Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London.

    Google Scholar 

  • ebu/uer. (2001) Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest 2002, ebu/uer, Geneva,

  • Eilers, A. (2002) Eurovision Song Contest Record Covers,

  • Eeuwes, G. (2002),

  • Glejser, H. and Heyndels, B. (2001) “Efficiency and Inefficiency in the Ranking in Competitions: The Case of the Queen Elisabeth Music Contest.” Journal of Cultural Economics 25: 109-129.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ginsburgh, V. (2003) “Awards, Success and Aesthetic Quality in the Arts.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 17(2): 99–111.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ginsburgh, V.A. and van Ours, J.C. (2003) “Expert Opinion and Compensation: Evidence from a Musical Competition.” American Economic Review 93: 289–296.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ginsburgh, V. and Weyers, S. (1999) “On the Perceived Quality of Movies.” Journal of Cultural Economics 23: 269–283.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holbrook, M.B. (1999) “Popular Appeal versus Expert Judgments of Motion Pictures.” Journal of Consumer Research 26: 144–155.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lipsitz, G. (1999) “T. Cowen, In Praise of Commercial Culture, Book Review.” Journal of Economic Literature 37: 1741–1742.

    Google Scholar 

  • Musgrave, R.A. (1959) The Theory of Public Finance. McGraw Hill, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsey. (1969) “Tests for Specification Errors in Classical Linear Least Squares Analysis.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B 31: 350–371.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwarm-Bronson, N. (2001) Eurovision Song Contest: the Story, ebu/uer, Geneva,

  • Schwartz, B. and Barsky, S.F. (1977) “The Home Advantage.” Social Forces 55: 641–661.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stewart, J.M., O’Shea, E., Donaldson, C. and Shackley, P. (2002) “Do ordering effects matter in willingness-to-pay studies of health care?.” Journal of Health Economics 21: 585–599.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stoddart, C. (2002), Eurovision Song Contest National Finals Homepage,

  • Vergin, R.C. and Sosik, J.J. (1999) “No Place Like Home: An Examination of the Home Field Advantage in Gambling Strategies in NFL Football.” Journal of Economics and Business 51: 21–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Walraven, H. and Willems, G. (2000) Dinge-dong – Het Eurovisie Songfestival in de twinstigste eeuw, Forum, Amsterdam.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wijnberg, N.M. (1995) “Selection Processes and Appropriability in Art, Science, and Technology.” Journal of Cultural Economics 19(3): 221–235.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wijnberg, N.M. and Gemser, G. (2000), “Adding Value to Innovation: Impressionism and the transformation of the Selection System in Visual Arts.” Organization Science 11(3): 323–329.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marco A. Haan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Haan, M.A., Dijkstra, S.G. & Dijkstra, P.T. Expert Judgment Versus Public Opinion – Evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest. J Cult Econ 29, 59–78 (2005).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words