IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wrk/warwec/882.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Happiness and Productivity

Author

Listed:
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

Little is known by economists about how emotions affect productivity. To make persuasive progress, some way has to be found to assign people exogenously to different feelings. We design a randomized trial. In it, some subjects have their happiness levels increased, while others in a control group do not. We show that a rise in happiness leads to greater productivity in a paid piece-rate task. The effect is large; it can be replicated; it is not a reciprocity effect; and it is found equally among males and females. We discuss the implications for economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Oswald, Andrew J. & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "Happiness and Productivity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 882, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:882
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_882.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-141, May.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    3. Petri Böckerman & Pekka Ilmakunnas, 2012. "The Job Satisfaction-Productivity Nexus: A Study Using Matched Survey and Register Data," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(2), pages 244-262, April.
    4. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
    5. Andrew J. Oswald, 1984. "Wage and Employment Structure in an Economy with Internal Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 693-716.
    6. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    7. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, September.
    8. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    9. Kirchsteiger, Georg & Rigotti, Luca & Rustichini, Aldo, 2006. "Your morals might be your moods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 155-172, February.
    10. De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Oswald, Andrew J., 2012. "Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed-effects," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51523, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    12. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
    13. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    14. Benjamin Hermalin & Alice Isen, 2008. "A model of the effect of affect on economic decision making," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 17-40, March.
    15. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2004. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1536-1557, December.
    16. M Patterson & P Warr & M West, 2004. "Organizational Climate and Company Productivity: the Role of Employee Affect and Employee Level," CEP Discussion Papers dp0626, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    17. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    18. John Ifcher & Homa Zarghamee, 2011. "Happiness and Time Preference: The Effect of Positive Affect in a Random-Assignment Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3109-3129, December.
    19. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    20. Carmit Segal, 2012. "Working When No One Is Watching: Motivation, Test Scores, and Economic Success," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(8), pages 1438-1457, August.
    21. Andrew J. Oswald & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2008. "Death, Happiness, and the Calculation of Compensatory Damages," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages 217-251, June.
    22. Caves, Richard E, 1974. "Multinational Firms, Competition, and Productivity in Host-Country Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 41(162), pages 176-193, May.
    23. Dickinson, David L, 1999. "An Experimental Examination of Labor Supply and Work Intensities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 638-670, October.
    24. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2008. "Limited Attention and Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 489-493, May.
    25. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
    26. Maurizio Pugno & Sara Depedri, 2010. "Job Performance and Job Satisfaction: An Integrated Survey," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 175-210.
    27. Paul Osterman (ed.), 1984. "Internal Labor Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026265105x, December.
    28. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    29. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    30. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
    31. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Alex Rees-Jones, 2012. "What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2083-2110, August.
    32. Oswald, Andrew J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA," IZA Discussion Papers 4695, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    33. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
    34. George Loewenstein, 2000. "Emotions in Economic Theory and Economic Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 426-432, May.
    35. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    36. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
    37. W. Stanley Siebert & Nikolay Zubanov, 2010. "Management Economics in a Large Retail Company," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(8), pages 1398-1414, August.
    38. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 1999. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Systems on Economic Performance: An International Comparison of U.S. and Japanese Plants," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(5), pages 704-721, May.
    39. John Zelenski & Steven Murphy & David Jenkins, 2008. "The Happy-Productive Worker Thesis Revisited," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 521-537, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. O'Donnell, Gus & Oswald, Andrew J., 2015. "National well-being policy and a weighted approach to human feelings," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 59-70.
    2. Andrew E. Clark, 2018. "Four Decades of the Economics of Happiness: Where Next?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 245-269, June.
    3. Krause, Annabelle, 2013. "Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Happiness economics," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 35-60, March.
    5. Cristina Borra & Francisco Gómez-García, 2016. "Wellbeing at Work and the Great Recession: The Effect of Others’ Unemployment," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1939-1962, October.
    6. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Benjamin M. Artz & Amanda H. Goodall & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "Boss Competence and Worker Well-Being," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(2), pages 419-450, March.
    8. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
    9. Koen Decancq & Marc Fleurbaey & Erik Schokkaert, 2015. "Happiness, Equivalent Incomes and Respect for Individual Preferences," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82, pages 1082-1106, December.
    10. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & George Ward & Femke De Keulenaer & Bert Van Landeghem & Georgios Kavetsos & Michael I. Norton, 2018. "The Asymmetric Experience of Positive and Negative Economic Growth: Global Evidence Using Subjective Well-Being Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 362-375, May.
    11. Graham, Liam & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "Hedonic Capital," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 745, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    12. Santiago Budria, 2013. "Are Relative-Income Effects Constant Across the Well-Being Distribution?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 1379-1408, August.
    13. Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin E. & Studer, Raphael, 2016. "Does the stork deliver happiness? Parenthood and life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 242-260.
    14. Bahadır Dursun & Resul Cesur, 2016. "Transforming lives: the impact of compulsory schooling on hope and happiness," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 911-956, July.
    15. Filiz Gülal & Adam Ayaita, 2020. "The Impact of Minimum Wages on Well-Being: Evidence from a Quasi-experiment in Germany," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(7), pages 2669-2692, October.
    16. Clément S. Bellet & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & George Ward, 2019. "Does employee happiness have an impact on productivity?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1655, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    17. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 113-155, June.
    18. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.
    19. Popova, Olga, 2014. "Can religion insure against aggregate shocks to happiness? The case of transition countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 804-818.
    20. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor productivity ; emotions ; well-being ; happiness ; positive affect ; experimental economics;
    All these keywords.

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:882. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dewaruk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Margaret Nash (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dewaruk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.