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Happiness And Productivity

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Executive Summary

Little is known by economists about how emotions affect productivity. To make persuasive progress, some way has to be found to assign people exogenously to different feelings. The authors design a randomized trial. In it, some subjects have their happiness levels increased, while others in a control group do not. They show that a rise in happiness leads to greater productivity in a paid piece-rate task. The effect is large; it can be replicated; it is not a reciprocity effect; and it is found equally among males and females. They discuss the implications for economics.

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