Agents’ Performance and Emotions: An Experimental Investigation

Lezzi, Emanuela (2014) Agents’ Performance and Emotions: An Experimental Investigation. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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    This doctoral thesis is structured in three essays. In the first essay (Chapter 2) I
    explore the behavioural effects of anxiety on agents’ performance. I hypothesize
    that a certain level of tension and pressure can induce agents to exert more effort,
    according to theories of anxiety in psychology. The negative valence associated to
    this emotion might propose an impairment in performance. On the contrary, the
    laboratory economic experiment I have run shows that when an anxious mood is
    induced individuals are more likely to exert more effort. Anxiety leads to performance
    In the second essay (Chapter 3) I raise a methodological issue on the use of effort
    tasks in economic experiments. Effort tasks are usually assumed to lead to similar
    results. However, the choice of the effort task can significantly drive experimental
    results. I have conducted an economic experiment where I compare four different
    effort tasks which give a measure of participants’ performance or investment when
    they compete for a prize. Results show that there is no equivalence between the
    types of task applied.
    The last essay (Chapter 4) is a substantial part of a joint project with Professor
    Daniel J. Zizzo. We ran an experiment where participants are asked to enter a
    2-player prize competition. Each pair consists of a High Type participant, who
    performs a previous real effort task better, and a Low Type participant, who performs
    a previous real effort task worse. Participants receive feedback on their performance
    rank and their opponents’ performance rank. They are also informed about the
    allocation of an extra monetary reward. Participants are then asked to choose their
    level of investment. They can also sabotage their opponent. Results show that
    perceived unfairness of the reward allocation rule, expectations of investment and
    sabotage, and competitive feelings affect participants’ behaviour in the contest.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
    Depositing User: Mia Reeves
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2014 11:48
    Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 11:48

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