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On Rush and Procrastination

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  • Brocas, Isabelle
  • Carrillo, Juan D

Abstract

We analyze the decision of individuals with time inconsistent preferences who undertake irreversible activities yielding either a current cost and a future benefit or a current benefit and a future cost. We first show that, when benefits come earlier than costs, the individual faces a coordination problem with himself that results in multiple, rankable equilibria. Some of these equilibria may exhibit rush, in the sense that the activity is undertaken 'too early' (i.e. with a negative payoff). Multiplicity explains why individuals succeed or not in avoiding temptations, depending on 'the degree of trust in their future decision'. Second, we prove that competition between agents for the same activity can be beneficial for them both when costs come before and after benefits: it decreases the agents' incentives to procrastinate (i.e. to undertake the activity 'too late') in the former case and to rush in the latter. Last, complementarity of tasks exacerbates the tendency to rush and to procrastinate. Under procrastination, it may even imply that projects which are valuable for all agents are never undertaken.

Suggested Citation

  • Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D, 1999. "On Rush and Procrastination," CEPR Discussion Papers 2237, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2237
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Juan D. Carrillo & Thomas Mariotti, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 529-544.
    2. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    3. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D, 1999. "Entry Mistakes, Entrepreneurial Boldness and Optimism," CEPR Discussion Papers 2213, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
    5. George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
    6. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
    7. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
    8. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    9. David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Rook, Dennis W, 1987. " The Buying Impulse," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 189-199, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Modelling time-inconsistent preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1116-1124, May.
    2. Nocke, Volker & Peitz, Martin, 2003. "Hyperbolic discounting and secondary markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 77-97, July.
    3. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D., 2000. "The value of information when preferences are dynamically inconsistent," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1104-1115, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decision Makiing Under Uncertainty; Procrastination; Rush; Time Inconsistency;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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