Title: Daily task scheduling, difficulty of tasks and productivity gains
Abstract:Innovations that improve the productivity and efficiency of workers with little or no increase in costs are a goldmine for organizations and policymakers. We analyse how scheduling of University exams (the tasks) affects students’ performance (their productivity). Using half million observations on University students, we rely on the quasi-random assignment of the day and time of the exams and perform within-student estimations. Particularly for exams involving problem solving skills (i.e. fluid intelligence), we find that productivity is highest in early afternoon. Efficiency gains of up to 0.12 standard deviations can be achieved through simple re-arrangements of their schedules. Our findings reconcile with recent theories of the circadian rhythm and cognitive fatigue. Such gains may extend beyond the sphere of University and have implications for the productivity of workers in other sectors of the economy.
No sandwiches as talk is at 2pm.
Sir Clive Granger BuildingUniversity of NottinghamUniversity Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
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