Does Employee Happiness Have an Impact on Productivity?

Clément S. Bellet, Jan Emmanuel De Neve, George Ward*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides evidence from a natural experiment on the relationship between positive affect and productivity. We link highly detailed administrative data on the behaviors and performance of all telesales workers at a large telecommunications company with survey reports of employee happiness that we collected on a weekly basis. We use variation in worker mood arising from visual exposure to weather-the interaction between call center architecture and outdoor weather conditions-to provide a quasi-experimental test of the effect of happiness on productivity. We find evidence of a positive impact on sales performance, which is driven by changes in labor productivity-largely through workers converting more calls into sales and to a lesser extent by making more calls per hour and adhering more closely to their schedule. We find no evidence in our setting of effects on measures of high-frequency labor supply such as attendance and break-taking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656-1679
Number of pages24
JournalManagement Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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Research programs

  • ESE - ECO


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