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Performance of procrastinators: on the value of deadlines

  • Fabian Herweg

    ()

  • Daniel Müller

    ()

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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11238-010-9195-6
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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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  1. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1997. "Incentives for Procrastinators," Discussion Papers 1181, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Procrastination on Long-Term Projects," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0303003, EconWPA.
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  8. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Later: Procrastination with Time-Consistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-19, Resources For the Future.
  9. Laibson, David, 1998. "Life-cycle consumption and hyperbolic discount functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 861-871, May.
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  12. Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Della Vigna, Stefano, 2003. "Contract Design and Self Control: Theory and Evidence," Research Papers 1801, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  13. 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.
  14. Volker Nocke & Martin Pietz, 2001. "Hyperbolic Discounting and Secondary Markets," Economics Papers 2001-W17, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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  16. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  17. 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.
  18. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Job Search and Impatience," NBER Working Papers 10837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
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