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Title: Agents' performance and emotions : an experimental investigation
Author: Lezzi, Emanuela
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 7888
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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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 improvements. 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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available