Temptation at Work
University of Verona - Department of Economics; Netspar
George Mason University - Department of Economics
University of Copenhagen
February 21, 2011
Harvard Business School Research Paper No. 11-090
To encourage worker productivity offices prohibit Internet use. Consequently, many employees delay Internet activity to the end of the workday. Recent work in social psychology, however, suggests that using willpower to delay gratification can negatively impact performance. We report data from an experiment where subjects in a Willpower Treatment are asked to resist the temptation to join others in watching a humorous video for 10 minutes. In relation to a baseline treatment that does not require willpower, we show that resisting this temptation detrimentally impacts economic productivity on a subsequent task.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: Temptation, Willpower, Lab Experiment
JEL Classification: C93, D01working papers series
Date posted: February 28, 2011
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