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"Shocks" and Productivity

David Johnson, Brent Davis and Robert Oxoby

No 2014-84, Working Papers from Department of Economics, University of Calgary

Abstract: Are productivity increases from small amounts of stress (or shocks) in an economic task dependent upon the content of the shock? It has been found small amounts of stress can lead to an increase in memory. We examine if the same is true with productivity in an economic experiment and whether it depends on the content of the stress. In our first experiment we suddenly expose participants to a "scary" or "cute" image during a real-effort task. We observe significant productivity gains after subjects view the scary image only. Our second experiment tests whether it was the method by which the image was presented or the image itself that lead to productivity gains. Results suggest productivity gains in the workplace depend on the shock itself and how the content is viewed by employees.

Keywords: Experiment; Stress; Productivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C0 C91 D03 D20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-11-10
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