Saturday, September 13, 2008

Can winning sports teams make us more productive employees?

The Boston Globe had an interesting article last week on the topic of whether a winning team can actually enhance the financial well-being of its fans. It cites research by economist Michael Davis and psychologist Christian End. The article explains the study:

"A winning NFL football team increases the incomes of the people who live and work in its hometown by as much as $120 a year. And while the study doesn't identify exactly what causes the boost, the authors point to psychological literature suggesting that winning fans are at once harder workers and bigger spenders. In short, buoyed by the team's success, we work longer hours, take bigger risks, and shop more avidly, all of which helps the local economy."

I'm not at all sure that this psychological impact on a team's fans merits the large public subsidies often given to sports teams to build new stadiums, but it is certainly fascinating research about how our moods might affect our productivity as workers.