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Authors > Dalton Patricio

The affective load inherent to inequality decreases productivity
Victor Gonzalez  1@  , Charles Noussair, Patricio Dalton  2@  
1 : Tilburg University [Tilburg]  (TiU)  -  Website
PO Box 90153, 5000LE Tilburg -  Netherlands
2 : Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy  (CAGE)  -  Website

Evidence suggests that the level of inequality in a society has a negative effect on aggregated
output. Diverse explanations on how this effect takes place have been developed in the economics
literature. We propose a novel explanation in which the degree of inequality to which an agent is
exposed induces an specific affective load which, if sufficiently high, could decrease productivity.
In a controlled laboratory setting we exogenously vary the level of poverty awareness as a proxy
to inequality. We find that subjects assigned to the “Awareness” treatment condition have lower
average productivity with respect to subjects assigned to the “No awareness” baseline condition.
A questionnaire and a face recognition software provide quantitative measures of the moods and
emotions evoked by the experimental conditions. We provide evidence that the affective variation
found in these conditions mediates this decrease in individual productivity.

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