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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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Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller, 2011. "Performance of procrastinators: on the value of deadlines," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(3), pages 329-366, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:70:y:2011:i:3:p:329-366
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-010-9195-6
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    Cited by:

    1. Murooka, Takeshi & Schwarz, Marco A., 2019. "Consumer exploitation and notice periods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 89-92.
    2. Alexander K. Koch & Julia Nafziger, 2011. "Self‐regulation through Goal Setting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 212-227, March.
    3. Murooka, Takeshi & Schwarz, Marco A., 2018. "The timing of choice-enhancing policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 27-40.
    4. Anderberg, Dan & Rainer, Helmut & Roeder, Kerstin, 2018. "Family-specific investments and divorce with dynamically inconsistent households: Marital contracts and policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 199-225.
    5. Akin, Zafer, 2012. "Intertemporal decision making with present biased preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 30-47.
    6. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2009. "Commitment to Self-Rewards," IZA Discussion Papers 4049, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2009. "Motivational Goal Bracketing," IZA Discussion Papers 4471, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2011. "Goals and Psychological Accounting," IZA Discussion Papers 5802, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Effort choice; Deadlines; (Quasi-) Hyperbolic discounting; Naiveté; Present-biased preferences; Sophistication; A12; D11;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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