We develop a new experimental paradigm to study how emotions affect decision-making. We use it to investigate the impact of short-term fluctuations in incidental happiness on economic decisions. Experimental subjects watch an NFL football game in a sports bar. At various commercial breaks, we measure subjects’ happiness and observe their decisions regarding charitable giving, willingness to pay for a consumer good, risk taking, and trust. We find that events in the game impact the incidental happiness of our subjects, and these changes lead to predictable changes in choices. We provide a simple model that rationalizes how subjects’ behavior varies with incidental happiness and provides insight into how mood can be tractably included in economics models. Our experimental paradigm can be leveraged by other researchers interested in exploring the impact of emotions on behavior.
- Decision making
- Lab in the field
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)