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Procrastination and Impatience

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  • Ernesto Reuben
  • Paola Sapienza
  • Luigi Zingales

Abstract

There is a large body of literature documenting both a preference for immediacy and a tendency to procrastinate. O'Donoghue and Rabin (1999a,b, 2001) and Choi et al. (2005) model these behaviors as the two faces of the same phenomenon. In this paper, we use a combination of lab, field, and survey evidence to study whether these two types of behavior are indeed linked. To measure immediacy we had subjects choose between a series of smaller-sooner and larger-later rewards. Both rewards were paid with a check in order to control for transaction costs. To measure procrastination we use the subjects' actual behavior in cashing the check and completing tasks on time. Our results lend support to the hypothesis that subjects who have a preference for immediacy are indeed more likely to procrastinate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13713.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13713

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  1. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  2. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
  3. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Choice And Procrastination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 121-160, February.
  6. Nava Ashraf & Dean S. Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2005. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 917, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  7. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2005. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000488, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers, University of California at Berkeley 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "Saving or Retirement on the Path of Least Resistance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000606, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1999. "Incentives For Procrastinators," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 769-816, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Novarese, Marco & Di Giovinazzo, Viviana, 2013. "Promptness and Academic Performance," MPRA Paper 49746, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. repec:ran:wpaper:895 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Reuben, Ernesto & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2008. "Time discounting for primary and monetary rewards," MPRA Paper 10650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Halevy, Yoram, 2012. "Time Consistency: Stationarity and Time Invariance," Microeconomics.ca working papers, Vancouver School of Economics yoram_halevy-2012-19, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 10 Sep 2014.
  5. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & Geoffrey W. Fisher, 2010. "Religious Identity and Economic Behavior," NBER Working Papers 15925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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