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Happiness and Productivity

Author

Listed:
  • Oswald, Andrew

    (University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    (University of Warwick)

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Some firms say they care about the happiness and ‘well-being’ of their employees. But are such claims hype? Or might they be scientific good sense? This study provides evidence that happiness makes people more productive. First, we examine fundamental real-world shocks (bereavement and family illness) imposed by Nature. We show that lower happiness is associated with lower productivity. Second, within the laboratory, we design two randomized controlled trials. Some individuals are deliberately made happier, while those in a control group are not. The treated individuals have 10-12% greater productivity than those in the control group. These complementary kinds of evidence, with their different strengths and weaknesses, point to a consistent pattern. They suggest that happiness raises human performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Oswald, Andrew & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2013. "Happiness and Productivity," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 108, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:108
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; well-being; productivity; personnel economics.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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