Effort Aversion: Job choice and compensation decisions overweight effort


Journal Article

The current research proposes that people avoid choosing effortful work even when they predict that it will provide them with a better working experience, a phenomenon we call Effort Aversion. In each of the studies, we presented a choice between an effortless but boring job and an effortful but enjoyable job. Study 1 found that participants were willing to accept lower wages to work at the effortless job, but they preferred the effortful job. This preference reversal is explained by the greater consideration wage setters gave to effort. Study 2 is a consequential lab experiment, in which participants were assigned to work at a job based on the wage they set. Those whose wage demands led them to be assigned to the effortless job experienced lower enjoyment than those who were assigned to the effortful job. Study 3 demonstrates that preference reversal was not attenuated by drawing attention to the hedonic experience afforded by work. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Comerford, DA; Ubel, PA

Published Date

  • August 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 92 /

Start / End Page

  • 152 - 162

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0167-2681

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.05.016

Citation Source

  • Scopus