Competition and Fatigue at Work
41 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 9 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 8, 2019
We study theoretically and experimentally the role of fatigue and recovery within a competitive work environment. We model a sequence of work periods as tournaments that are linked through fatigue spillovers, inducing a non-time-separable decision problem. We also allow for variations in incentives in one work period, in order to analyze spillover effects to the work periods “before” and “after”. Making recovery harder should, generally, reduce effort. This prediction is supported by the experimental data. A short-term increase in incentives in one period should lead to higher effort in that period, and, due to fatigue, to strategic resting before and after. Our experimental results confirm the former, and we find some evidence for the latter. Even in the presence of fatigue, total effort should positively respond to higher-powered incentives. This is not supported by our data. Removing fatigue, we find the expected increase in total effort.
Keywords: Fatigue, Recovery, Incentives, Experiment, Tournament
JEL Classification: C72, C91, D91, J22, J33, J81, L2, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation