Temptation at Work

15 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011 Last revised: 11 Jan 2014

Alessandro Bucciol

University of Verona - Department of Economics; Netspar; University of Padua

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Marco Piovesan

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 21, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Temptation, Willpower, Lab Experiment

JEL Classification: C93, D01

Suggested Citation

Bucciol, Alessandro and Houser, Daniel and Piovesan, Marco, Temptation at Work (February 21, 2011). PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2013; Harvard Business School Research Paper No. 11-090. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1772815 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1772815

Alessandro Bucciol

University of Verona - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Cantarane 24
Verona, 37129
Italy
+39 045.842.5448 (Phone)
+39 045.802.8529 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sites.google.com/site/abucciol/

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

University of Padua ( email )

Via 8 Febbraio, 2
Padova, Padova 35122
Italy

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Marco Piovesan (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/piovesan/

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