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Happiness and productivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Andrew J. Oswald
  • Eugenio Proto
  • Daniel Sgroi
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-822
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue number4
DatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


Some firms say they care about the well-being and “happiness” of their employees. But are such claims hype or scientific good sense? We provide evidence, for a classic piece rate setting, that happiness makes people more productive. In three different styles of experiment, randomly selected individuals are made happier. The treated individuals have approximately 12% greater productivity. A fourth experiment studies major real-world shocks (bereavement and family illness). Lower happiness is systematically associated with lower productivity. These different forms of evidence, with complementary strengths and weaknesses, are consistent with the existence of a causal link between human well-being and human performance.



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