The Strategic Display of Emotions

Daniel Chen, Astrid Hopfensitz, Boris van Leeuwen, Jeroen van de Ven

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The emotion that someone expresses has consequences for how that person
is treated. We study whether people display emotions strategically. In two laboratory experiments, participants play task delegation games in which managers assign a task to one of two workers. When assigning the task, managers see pictures of the workers and we vary whether getting the task is desirable or not. We find that workers strategically adapt their emotional expressions to the incentives they face, and that it indeed pays off to do so. Yet, workers do not exploit the full potential of the strategic display of emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • emotions
  • expressions
  • communication
  • experiment
  • incentives


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