Capturing the role of societal affinity in cross-border mergers with the Eurovision Song Contest


This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of voting bias in the Eurovision Song Contest as a means of capturing societal affinity. More than 180 million viewers from more than 40 countries watch the Eurovision Song Contest every year and vote for their favorite songs. Societal affinity between participating countries leads to systematic bias in voting patterns as each song represents a country. Using cross-border mergers as a proxy for international business exchanges, we demonstrate how voting bias provides a simple, freely available, and dynamic means of capturing societal affinity between countries that complements other metrics of affinity and distance.


Cet article démontre l’efficacité du vote biaisé dans le Concours Eurovision de la chanson comme moyen de capturer les affinités sociétales. Plus de 180 millions de téléspectateurs de plus de 40 pays regardent le Concours Eurovision de la chanson chaque année et votent pour leurs chansons préférées. L’affinité sociétale entre les pays participants conduit à un biais systématique dans les modes de vote car chaque chanson représente un pays. En utilisant les fusions transfrontalières comme une approximation des échanges commerciaux internationaux, nous démontrons comment le vote biaisé constitue un moyen simple, gratuit et dynamique de saisir l’affinité sociétale entre les pays qui complète d’autres mesures d’affinité et de distance.


Este artículo demuestra la efectividad del sesgo de votación en el Festival de la Canción de Eurovisión como un medio para capturar la afinidad social. Más de 180 millones espectadores de más de 40 países ven el Festival de la Canción de Eurovisión cada año y votan por sus canciones favoritas. La afinidad social entre los países participantes lleva a un sesgo sistemático en los patrones de votación ya que cada canción representa un país. Usando las fusiones transfronterizas como proxy para los intercambios de negocios internacionales, demostramos cómo el sesgo de votación provee un medio simple, de acceso gratuito, y dinámico de capturar la afinidad social entre los países que complementa otras métricas de afinidad y distancia.


Este artigo demonstra a eficácia do viés de votação na competição de músicas Eurovision como um meio de capturar afinidade social. Mais de 180 milhões espectadores de mais de 40 países assistem à competição de músicas Eurovision todos os anos e votam em suas músicas favoritas. A afinidade social entre os países participantes leva a um viés sistemático nos padrões de votação, já que cada canção representa um país. Usando fusões transfronteiriças como proxy para trocas comerciais internacionais, demonstramos como o viés de votação fornece um meio simples, disponível gratuitamente e dinâmico de capturar a afinidade social entre países que complementa outras métricas de afinidade e distância.


本文展示了欧洲歌曲大赛中投票偏见作为捕捉社会亲和力的手段的有效性。来自40多个国家的超过1.8亿的观众每年观看欧洲歌曲大赛, 并投票选出他们喜爱的歌曲。由于每首歌代表一个国家, 参与国之间的社会亲和力导致投票模式的系统偏差。我们利用跨国并购作为国际商业交往的代理, 展示了投票偏见如何提供一种简单、免费和动态的方法来捕捉各国之间的社会亲和力, 从而补充其它亲和力和距离指标。

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We are grateful to Professor Mark Peterson (Area Editor) and to three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We are thankful to Seth Armitage, Jay Dahya, Jo Danbolt, Mark Goergen, Iftekhar Hasan, Frank Hong Liu, Richard Taffler, Ioannis Tsalavoutas and Pauline Weetman for their helpful comments, and also to Gillian MacIver for the manual data collection from the Google Trends website.

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Correspondence to Antonios Siganos.

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Accepted by Mark F. Peterson, Area Editor, 27 August 2019. This article has been with the authors for five revisions.

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Siganos, A., Tabner, I.T. Capturing the role of societal affinity in cross-border mergers with the Eurovision Song Contest. J Int Bus Stud 51, 263–273 (2020).

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  • Eurovision Song Contest
  • societal affinity
  • cross-border mergers