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Performance of procrastinators: on the value of deadlines

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  • Fabian Herweg

    ()

  • Daniel Müller

    ()

Abstract

Earlier work has shown that procrastination can be explained by quasi-hyperbolic discounting. We present a model of effort choice over time that shifts the focus away from completion to performance on a single task. We show that quasi-hyperbolic discounting is detrimental for performance. More intrestingly, we find that being aware of the own self-control problems not necessarily increases performance. Extending this framework to a multi-task model, we show that deadlines help an agent to structure his workload more efficiently, which in turn leads to better performance. Moreover, being restricted by deadlines increases a quasi-hyperbolic discounter's well-being. Thus, we give a theoretical underpinning for recent empirical evidence and numerous casual observations.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Theory and Decision.

Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 329-366

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Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:70:y:2011:i:3:p:329-366

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100341

Related research

Keywords: Effort choice; Deadlines; (Quasi-) Hyperbolic discounting; Naiveté; Present-biased preferences; Sophistication; A12; D11;

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References

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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  2. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
  4. Stefano Della Vigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Contract Design and Self-control: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 353-402, May.
  5. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
  6. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Procrastination on Long-Term Projects," Working Papers 02-09, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  7. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  8. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1997. "Incentives for Procrastinators," Discussion Papers 1181, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Volker Nocke & Martin Peitz, 2002. "Hyperbolic Discounting and Secondary Markets," Economics Series Working Papers 2001-W17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Choice And Procrastination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 121-160, February.
  11. Laibson, David, 1998. "Life-cycle consumption and hyperbolic discount functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 861-871, May.
  12. Zafer Akin, 2005. "Time Inconsistency And Learning In Bargaining Games," Game Theory and Information 0507003, EconWPA.
  13. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
  15. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Job Search and Impatience," NBER Working Papers 10837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  17. Wong, Wei-Kang, 2008. "How much time-inconsistency is there and does it matter? Evidence on self-awareness, size, and effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 645-656, December.
  18. Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Read this paper later: procrastination with time-consistent preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 249-269, November.
  19. Carrillo, Juan D & Mariotti, Thomas, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 529-44, July.
  20. Adriana D. Kugler & Robert M. Sauer, 2005. "Doctors without Borders? Relicensing Requirements and Negative Selection in the Market for Physicians," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 437-466, July.
  21. David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
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Cited by:
  1. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2008. "Self-Regulation through Goal Setting," IZA Discussion Papers 3893, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2011. "Goals and Psychological Accounting," IZA Discussion Papers 5802, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Akin, Zafer, 2012. "Intertemporal decision making with present biased preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 30-47.

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