The Strategic Display of Emotions
CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2019-014
40 Pages Posted: 23 May 2019
Date Written: April 30, 2019
The emotion that someone expresses has consequences for how that person is treated. We study whether people display emotions strategically. In two laboratory experiments, participants play task delegation games in which managers assign a task to one of two workers. When assigning the task, managers see pictures of the workers and we vary whether getting the task is desirable or not. We find that workers strategically adapt their emotional expressions to the incentives they face, and that it indeed pays off to do so. Yet, workers do not exploit the full potential of the strategic display of emotions.
Keywords: emotions, expressions, communication, experiment, incentives
JEL Classification: D91, C91, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation