Working hard for pizza? Study says the food favorite motivates employees more than cash

WJW file photo of pizza

Which dough would motivate you more at work- cold hard cash or a slice of pizza?

Yes, we said pizza! Duke University psychology professor Dan Ariely recently put the question to the test.

According to, Ariely sent three out of four workers at a semiconductor factory in Israel messages at the start of the week that promised them specific rewards for assembling a prescribed number of chips each day.

Ariely promised one group a ‘Well Done!” text message from a manager at the end of the week. Another group was promised a cash bonus of about $30. A third group was told they would get a voucher for a free pizza. A fourth group, roughly 25 percent of the workers, got no message or offer.

After laying out the incentives, the employees were told to get to work.

Ariely documented the study and outcome in his book Payoff: ‘The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.’

According to Ariely, during the beginning of the week-long experiment, free pizza came out first, showing a 6.7 percent increase in productivity over the control group. A “Well Done!” saw a 6.6 percent increase. And money claimed a surprising third place with just 4.9 percent over the control group.

**More on the story here**