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Procrastination and Impatience

Listed author(s):
  • Ernesto Reuben
  • Paola Sapienza
  • Luigi Zingales

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13713.pdf
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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
Publication status: published as Reuben, Ernesto & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2015. "Procrastination and impatience," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 63-76.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13713
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