1 Section for Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 University of Verona3 George Mason University4 Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 University of Verona6 Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet
To encourage worker productivity, companies routinely adopt policies requiring employees to delay gratification. For example, offices might prohibit use of the internet for personal purposes during regular business hours. Recent work in social psychology, however, suggests that using willpower to delay gratification can negatively impact performance. We report data from an experiment where subjects in a Willpower Treatment are asked to resist the temptation to join others in watching a humorous video for 10 minutes. In relation to a baseline treatment that does not require willpower, we show that resisting this temptation detrimentally impacts economic productivity on a subsequent task.