Is the Psychology of High Profits Detrimental to Industrial Renewal? Experimental Evidence for the Theory of Transformation Pressure

Reprint No. 2015:28

Author(s): Lennart Erixon and Louise JohannessonYear: 2015 Title: Journal of Evolutionary Economics Volume (No.): 25 (2) Pages: 471–511
Online article (restrictions may apply)

The theory of transformation pressure maintains, by reference to cognitive and emotional factors, that productivity and innovation are stimulated by a decline in actual profits. In periods of increasing profits, firms governed by historical relativism, the peak-end rule and overconfidence will opt for the status quo. In the following profit recession, actors become more alert, calculating and creative, favoring a transformation, especially if they fear that the survival of the firm is at stake. The theory of transformation pressure was tested by a within-subjects experiment where undergraduate students in macroeconomics acted as managers for an established company. The role play sheds light on the students’ investment strategy choices and underlying psychological perceptions under varying profit conditions. The theory was only partly confirmed by the experiment. There are arguments in industrial economics, psychology and neuroscience for a qualified theory of transformation pressure. Productivity is enhanced by moderate pressure or by periodic shifts between hard pressure and good opportunity.

Erixon, Lennart and Louise Johannesson (2015), "Is the Psychology of High Profits Detrimental to Industrial Renewal? Experimental Evidence for the Theory of Transformation Pressure". Journal of Evolutionary Economics 25(2), 471–511.

Louise Johannesson


Ph: +46 8 665 4514

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se