An Economic Model of the Planning Fallacy
AbstractPeople tend to underestimate the work involved in completing tasks and consequently finish tasks later than expected or do an inordinate amount of work right before projects are due. We present a theory in which people underpredict and procrastinate because the ex-ante utility benefits of anticipating that a task will be easy to complete outweigh the average ex-post costs of poor planning. We show that, given a commitment device, people self-impose deadlines that are binding but require less smoothing of work than those chosen by a person with objective beliefs. We test our theory using extant experimental evidence on differences in expectations and behavior. We find that reported beliefs and behavior generally respond as our theory predicts. For example, monetary incentives for accurate prediction ameliorate the planning fallacy while incentives for rapid completion aggravate it.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14228.
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Note: EFG AP
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-08-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBA-2008-08-21 (Central Banking)
- NEP-CBE-2008-08-21 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-MAC-2008-08-21 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-PPM-2008-08-21 (Project, Program & Portfolio Management)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2000.
"Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt5qh6142m, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," General Economics and Teaching 0012003, EconWPA.
- George Loewenstein, Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Economics Working Papers E00-284, University of California at Berkeley.
- Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Working Papers 02-11, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999.
"Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1982.
"Expectations, Life Expectancy, and Economic Behavior,"
NBER Working Papers
0835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1985. "Expectations, Life Expectancy, and Economic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 389-408, May.
- W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999.
"Temptation and Self-Control,"
Princeton Economic Theory Papers
99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
Economics Working Papers
97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo & Wolfers, Justin, 2003.
"Disagreement about Inflation Expectations,"
1807, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Working Papers 9796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Augusto Marc Rocha Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2004. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm391, Yale School of Management.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2011, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Klaus Wertenbroch, 1998. "Consumption Self-Control by Rationing Purchase Quantities of Virtue and Vice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 317-337.
- Souleles, Nicholas S, 2004. "Expectations, Heterogeneous Forecast Errors, and Consumption: Micro Evidence from the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Surveys," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 39-72, February.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004.
"The Social Discount Rate,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1257-1268, December.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2000. "The Social Discount Rate," NBER Working Papers 7983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "The social discount rate," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 137, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- 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.
- Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
- Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
- Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
- Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
- Terry Connolly & Doug Dean, 1997. "Decomposed Versus Holistic Estimates of Effort Required for Software Writing Tasks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(7), pages 1029-1045, July.
- Bisin, Alberto & Hyndman, Kyle, 2009.
"Procrastination, self-imposed deadlines and other commitment devices,"
16235, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Kyle Hyndman & Alberto Bisin, 2009. "Procrastination, Self-Imposed Deadlines and Other Commitment Devices," Departmental Working Papers 0904, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.