Temptation and productivity: A field experiment with children
Substantial evidence from psychology suggests that resisting temptation (exercising self-control) in one domain subsequently reduces one's capacity to regulate behavior in other domains. A reason is that people have limited self-regulatory resources, and self-regulatory failure occurs when these resources become overwhelmed. This paper provides evidence that this same mechanism can lead to reduced economic productivity subsequent to exposure to temptation. Using a design inspired by the classic “Marshmallow Test”, we report data from a field experiment in which children between the ages of 6 and 13 were exposed (or not) to a consumption temptation. We use these ages to take advantage of the well-established fact that the self-regulatory resources of younger children are more easily depleted than those of older children. We find that, subsequent to exposure to temptation, productivity of younger children is significantly detrimentally impacted, while that of older children remains essentially unchanged. To our knowledge, this is the first rigorous demonstration that one need not succumb to temptation in order for it to detrimentally impact one's economic productivity.
Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Emre Ozdenoren & Stephen W. Salant & Dan Silverman, 2012.
"Willpower And The Optimal Control Of Visceral Urges,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 342-368, April.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Steve Salant & Dan Silverman, 2005. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000034, David K. Levine.
- Ozdenoren, Emre & Salant, Stephen & Silverman, Dan, 2010. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Discussion Papers dp-10-35, Resources For the Future.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Stephen Salant & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," Economics Working Papers 0069, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
- Emre Ozdenoren & Stephen Salant & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Willpower and the Optimal Control of Visceral Urges," NBER Working Papers 12278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daniel Houser & David Reiley & Michael Urbancic, 2004. "Checking Out Temptation: An Natural Experiment with Purchases at the Grocery Register," Working Papers 1001, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Nov 2008.
- Kathleen D. Vohs & Ronald J. Faber, 2007. "Spent Resources: Self-Regulatory Resource Availability Affects Impulse Buying," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 537-547, January.
- repec:zur:iewwpx:488 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:lmu:muenar:19377 is not listed on IDEAS
- Shiv, Baba & Fedorikhin, Alexander, 1999. " Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 278-292, December.
- Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)