Can Economic Competition be a psychological stressor?

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The paper by Buckert speaks about how competition can act as a stressor in economic competition and I partially agree with this statement and the fundamentals behind the study as it provides a large amount of empirical evidence as well as acknowledging its possible limitations.

As the study only takes place in a lab setting, the findings found that the ‘competitive’ condition was not a major stressor, as shown by the lack of increase of cortisol in the body. I believe it is important to study the psychological effects on people during laboratory economic experiments as it provides a deeper insight into the possible effects such outcomes could have on an economic structure or question. This lab setting permits refinements and important tests before a certain economic question is applied in reality. However, I believe that although the importance of the stress levels measured by Buckert cover various areas such as the measurement of the increase in testosterone levels, I do not think that such details can be thought to be wholly applicable as a specific psychological response such as increase in testosterone may be completely different in a real life situation as compared to a laboratory setting due to the environmental difference, making me wonder as to how accurate or applicable could certain psychological responses recorded by Buckert be applied to the real world.

Despite this, the evidence gathered by Buckert shows the possible effect on stress that competition can have in economics through a large amount of empirical data and the use of multiple methods as well as a control group, which allows further research into how appraisal methods in economic competition may cause varying stress levels and how various coping mechanisms may allow various other points of view that could have an influence on laboratory economic experiments which have not already been considered.

1 Comment

  1. I agree on the fact that this study is somewhat inconclusive because they couldn’t find any increase in cortisol (the stress hormone), but I do think that the subjective stress response is a pretty solid measure to conclude that the participants did, as a matter of fact, feel stressed.

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