Recover Overnight? Work Interruption and Worker Productivity
25 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2015 Last revised: 29 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 16, 2016
This paper investigates the effect of work interruption on workers' subsequent productivity. We employ a data set of individual productivity and machine conditions, in which each worker faces the chance, on a daily basis, that her machine will break down randomly. Our analysis finds that compared to a workday with smooth production, experiencing a machine breakdown is associated with a decline in individual productivity the following day. We discuss possible explanations, including proficiency loss and negative emotion induced by work interruption, for the observed effect. Our findings shed light on the importance of understanding and managing interruptions in the workplace, and contribute to a growing literature on the determinants of productivity at the micro level.
Keywords: Productivity, Labor supply, Work interruption
JEL Classification: D84, J22, M11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation