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BE Seminar

Stressing You Out for Your Own Bad! Stochastic Rewards and Work Addiction


Brice Corgnet
EMLYON Business School ; GATE -Lab
Professor in Economics, Finance and Management
Brice is a professor of Finance at EM-Lyon Business school and a researcher at GATE-LAB. He is a behavioral scientist who studies both market and non-market institutions. His work in finance focuses on market design, financial literacy, market efficiency and behavioral finance. Recently, he has worked on the emerging field of “Cognitive Finance” that he defines as incorporating theoretical concepts and tools of cognitive sciences (cognitive psychology & intelligence research) into the analysis of financial markets and financial decision making. He is also the co-developer of the computer software Virtual Organizations which is used for conducting research experiments in the Organizational, Personnel and Labor Economics. Within the GATE, Brice Corgnet is coordinator of the GATE research team Behavioral Economics


Abstract : People are generally assumed to be reluctant to engage in activities generating stochastic rewards thus requiring extra compensation for handling any additional risk. In contrast with this view, decision neuroscience has recently shown, in a series of experiments with rodents, that stochastic rewards my act as a powerful motivator. Applying these ideas to the study of work addiction in humans we demonstrate, using both a model and a new experimental paradigm, how stochastic rewards may lead people to continue working on a repetitive and effortful task even after monetary compensation has been slashed. In line with our model, we show that persistence on the work task is especially pronounced when the entropy of stochastic rewards is high which is when the work task generates more stress to subjects. We discuss the managerial and occupational health implications of our results.

Practical information


Université Montpellier - Faculté d'économie - salle 416
Avenue Raymond Dugrand 34960 Montpellier

Dates & time

Jun 14, 2018


Marc Willinger
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