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Exposure to Poverty and Productivity

Author

Listed:
  • Dalton, Patricio

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

  • Gonzalez Jimenez, Victor

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

  • Noussair, Charles

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

Abstract

We study whether poverty can induce affective states that decrease productivity. In a controlled laboratory setting, we find that subjects randomly assigned to a treatment, in which they view a video featuring individuals that live in extreme poverty, exhibit lower subsequent productivity compared to subjects assigned to a control treatment. Questionnaire responses, as well as facial recognition software, provide quantitative measures of the affective state evoked by the two treatments. Subjects exposed to images of poverty experience a more negative affective state than those in the control treatment. Further analyses show that individuals in a more positive emotional state exhibit less of a treatment effect. Also, those who exhibit greater attentiveness upon viewing the poverty video are less productive. The results are consistent with the notion that exposure to poverty can induce a psychological state in individuals that adversely affects productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalton, Patricio & Gonzalez Jimenez, Victor & Noussair, Charles, 2016. "Exposure to Poverty and Productivity," Discussion Paper 2016-027, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiucen:fcd7ed5d-22ed-4142-8143-b7533b40044e
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Exposure to Poverty and Productivity
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-08-10 19:43:53

    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; productivity; mood; emotions; limited attention; experiments;

    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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