Recover Overnight? Work Interruption and Worker Productivity

25 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2015 Last revised: 29 Feb 2016

See all articles by Xiqian Cai

Xiqian Cai

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE)

Jie Gong

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Business Policy

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Songfa Zhong

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 16, 2016

Abstract

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

Cai, Xiqian and Gong, Jie and Lu, Yi and Zhong, Songfa, Recover Overnight? Work Interruption and Worker Productivity (February 16, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2578855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2578855

Xiqian Cai

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE) ( email )

B 309, Economics Building
Xiamen, Fujian 10246
China

Jie Gong (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Business Policy ( email )

15 Kent Ridge Drive, Mochtar Riady Build
Singapore 117591, 119245
Singapore

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore
65-65166834 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ylu6.weebly.com

Songfa Zhong

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore

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