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Multitasking: Productivity Effects and Gender Differences

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Buser

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Noemi Peter

    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

We examine how multitasking affects performance and check whether women are indeed better at multitasking. Subjects in our experiment perform two different tasks according to three treatments: one where they perform the tasks sequentially, one where they are forced to multitask, and one where they can freely organize their work. Subjects who are forced to multitask perform significantly worse than those forced to work sequentially. Surprisingly, subjects who can freely organize their own schedule also perform significantly worse. Finally, our results do not support the stereotype that women are better at multitasking. Women suffer as much as men when forced to multitask and are actually less inclined to multitask when being free to choose. See also the article 'Multitasking' in Experimental Economics , 15(4), 641-655. 10.1007/s10683-012-9318-8

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Buser & Noemi Peter, 2011. "Multitasking: Productivity Effects and Gender Differences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-044/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20110044
    as

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    File URL: https://papers.tinbergen.nl/11044.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Multitasking: Productivity Effects and Gender Differences
      by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2011-03-29 04:52:10

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    Cited by:

    1. André J Szameitat & Yasmin Hamaida & Rebecca S Tulley & Rahmi Saylik & Pauldy C J Otermans, 2015. "“Women Are Better Than Men”–Public Beliefs on Gender Differences and Other Aspects in Multitasking," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(10), pages 1-26, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    multitasking; productivity; gender; lab experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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