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Temptation at work

Author

Listed:
  • Alessandro Bucciol

    (University of Verona)

  • Daniel Houser

    (George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.)

  • Marco Piovesan

    (Harvard Business School)

Abstract

To encourage worker productivity offices prohibit Internet use. Consequently, many employees delay Internet activity to the end of the workday. Recent work in social psychology, however, suggests that using willpower to delay gratification can negatively impact performance. We report data from an experiment where subjects in a Willpower Treatment are asked to resist the temptation to join others in watching a humorous video for 10 minutes. In relation to a baseline treatment that does not require willpower, we show that resisting this temptation detrimentally impacts economic productivity on a subsequent task.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Bucciol & Daniel Houser & Marco Piovesan, 2011. "Temptation at work," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-090, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:11-090
    as

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    File URL: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/11-090.pdf
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    Other versions of this item:

    • Alessandro Bucciol & Daniel Houser & Marco Piovesan, 2013. "Temptation at Work," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(1), pages 1-5, January.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Nicholas Burger & Gary Charness & John Lynham, 2010. "Field and Online Experiments on Procrastination and Willpower," Working Papers 201012, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    3. Bucciol, Alessandro & Houser, Daniel & Piovesan, Marco, 2011. "Temptation and productivity: A field experiment with children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 126-136, April.
    4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. On banning Youtube at work
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-04-14 19:11:00
    2. All I want is the internet
      by fiveminuteeconomist in Five Minute Economist on 2011-03-07 02:54:34

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berno Buechel & Lydia Mechtenberg & Julia Petersen, 2014. "Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2014-024, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    2. Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
    3. Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Self Control and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from Glucose and Depletion Interventions," Post-Print halshs-00949131, HAL.
    4. Michael A. Kuhn & Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "The importance of the cognitive environment on intertemporal choice," Post-Print halshs-00862656, HAL.
    5. Gerhards, Leonie & Gravert, Christina, 2016. "Because of you I did not give up - How peers affect perseverance," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145691, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Martin G Kocher & Konstantin E Lucks & David Schindler, 2019. "Unleashing Animal Spirits: Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(6), pages 2149-2178.
    7. Buechel, Berno & Mechtenberg, Lydia & Petersen, Julia, 2014. "Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control," MPRA Paper 53658, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Shantanu Bagchi, 2011. "Can overconfidence explain the consumption hump?," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 35(1), pages 41-70, January.
    9. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    10. Toussaert, Séverine, 2018. "Eliciting temptation and self-control through menu choices: a lab experiment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88107, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Lucks, Konstantin, 2016. "The Impact of Self-Control on Investment Decisions," MPRA Paper 73099, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    temptation; willpower; lab experiment.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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