AbstractWe examine how multitasking affects performance. We also examine whether individuals optimally choose their degree of multitasking or whether they perform better under an externally imposed schedule. Subjects in our experiment perform two different tasks according to one of three treatments: one where they perform the tasks sequentially, one where they are forced to multitask, and one where they can freely organize their work. Subjects who are forced to multitask perform significantly worse than those forced to work sequentially. Surprisingly, subjects who can freely organize their own schedule also perform significantly worse. These results suggest that scheduling is a significant determinant of productivity. Finally, our results do not support the stereotype that women are better at multitasking. Women suffer as much as men when forced to multitask and are actually less inclined to multitask when being free to choose. Copyright The Author(s) 2012
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.
Volume (Year): 15 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888
Multitasking; Productivity; Lab experiment; Gender; C91; J24; J16;
Other versions of this item:
- Thomas Buser & Noemi Peter, 2011. "Multitasking: Productivity Effects and Gender Differences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-044/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Multitasking: Productivity Effects and Gender Differences
by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2011-03-28 23:52:10
- Foster, Gigi & Kalenkoski, Charlene M., 2012. "Measuring the Relative Productivity of Multitasking to Sole-tasking in Household Production: New Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 6763, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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