I Am Getting Tired: Effort and Fatigue in Intertemporal Decision-Making

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 11.09.2007, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Davide Dragone (University of Bologna)


Evidence on effort-demanding tasks suggests that exerting effort is fatiguing and that overcoming a given threshold of fatigue prevents the agent from providing acceptable performances. This paper proposes a simple dynamic model to study the optimal amount of effort that an agent should exert to manage fatigue over time and possibly avoid exhaustion. Depending on the condition of fatigue of the agent and on the duration of the task to be performed, four testable patterns of optimal effort exertion are suggested. The model is extended to consider multitasking, showing that this condition induces lower performance profiles and the emergence of thresholds of fatigue beyond which the worker cannot avoid being exhausted. When this is the case a policy intervention, like allowing the worker to take a rest-break, would be advisable.

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