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Field and Online Experiments on Procrastination and Willpower

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Author Info

  • Nicholas Burger

    ()
    (Rand Corporation)

  • Gary Charness

    ()
    (University of California at Santa Barbara, Econonmics Department)

  • John Lynham

    ()
    (University of Hawaii, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Self-control problems have recently received considerable attention from economic theorists. We conducted two studies to test the benefits of externally imposed deadlines and how willpower depletion affects behavior, providing some of the first data in these areas. Each study involved a behavioral intervention designed to affect performance. We find that for a lengthy task, regular deadlines neither reduce procrastination nor increase completion rates. Second, a willpower-depleting task reduces initial effort but increases overall task-completion rates. Our results help to inform ongoing efforts to understand and model procrastination, willpower and commitment mechanisms.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_10-12.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201012.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 18 May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201012

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Keywords: Experiment; Behavioral Interventions; Procrastination; Willpower;

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  1. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-57, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Steinar Holden, 2012. "Implications of insights from behavioral economics for macroeconomic models," Working Paper 2012/12, Norges Bank.
  2. Driscoll, John C. & Holden, Steinar, 2014. "Behavioral Economics and Macroeconomic Models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Stephen Knowles & MaroŇ° Serv√°tka, 2014. "Transaction Costs, the Opportunity Cost of Time and Inertia in Charitable Giving," Working Papers in Economics 14/05, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.

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