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Happiness and Productivity

  • Oswald, Andrew J.


    (University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio


    (University of Warwick)

  • Sgroi, Daniel


    (University of Warwick)

The paper provides evidence that happiness raises productivity. In Experiment 1, a randomized trial is designed. Some subjects have their happiness levels increased, while those in a control group do not. Treated subjects have 12% greater productivity in a paid piece-rate Niederle-Vesterlund task. They alter output but not the per-piece quality of their work. To check the robustness and lasting nature of this kind of effect, a complementary Experiment 2 is designed. In this, major real-world unhappiness shocks – bereavement and family illness – are studied. The findings from (real-life) Experiment 2 match those from (random-assignment) Experiment 1.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4645.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4645
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