Stressing You Out for Your Own Bad! Stochastic Rewards and Work Addiction

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IZA Seminar

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

Date: 05.06.2018, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Brice Corgnet (EMLYON Business School)


People are generally assumed to be reluctant to engage in activities generating stochastic rewards thus requiring extra compensation for handling any additional risk. In contrast with this view, decision neuroscience has recently shown, in a series of experiments with rodents, that stochastic rewards my act as a powerful motivator. Applying these ideas to the study of work addiction in humans we demonstrate, using both a model and a new experimental paradigm, how stochastic rewards may lead people to continue working on a repetitive and effortful task even after monetary compensation has been slashed. In line with our model, we show that persistence on the work task is especially pronounced when the entropy of stochastic rewards is high which is when the work task generates more stress to subjects. We discuss the managerial and occupational health implications of our results.

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