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Why Real Leisure Really Matters: Incentive Effects on Real Effort in the Laboratory

  • Brice Corgnet

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

  • Roberto Hernán-González

    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Eric Schniter

    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

On-the-job leisure is a pervasive feature of the modern workplace. We studied its impact on work performance in a laboratory experiment by either allowing or restricting Internet access. We used a 2×2 experimental design in which subjects completing real-effort work tasks could earn cash according to either individual- or team-production incentive schemes. Under team pay, production levels were significantly lower when Internet browsing was available than when it was not. Under individual pay, however, no differences in production levels were observed between the treatment in which Internet was available and the treatment in which it was not. In line with standard incentive theory, individual pay outperformed team pay across all periods of the experiment when Internet browsing was available. This was not the case, however, when Internet browsing was unavailable. These results demonstrate that the integration of on-the-job leisure activities into an experimental labor design is crucial for uncovering incentive effects.

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Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 13-22.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:13-22
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