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Fighting Procrastination in the Workplace: An Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Ximena Cadena
  • Antoinette Schoar
  • Alexandra Cristea
  • Héber M. Delgado-Medrano

Abstract

In this paper we test whether procrastination and planning problems affect the performance, compensation and work satisfaction among employees. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment with a bank in Colombia to change the frequency and intensity with which employees received reminders about goal achievements. We also provided small in-kind prizes every week to remind employees of their goal achievement. Loan officers in the treatment group showed strong improvements in their goal achievements, better work load distribution, and higher monthly compensation (not including the value of the small prizes). The intervention also improved worker satisfaction and reduced stress levels, without affecting the quality of the loan officers' portfolios. We show that including branch managers (the supervisors of the loan officers) in the intervention was central in achieving these results, since they played a key role in reinforcing the reminders and helping employees with planning problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Ximena Cadena & Antoinette Schoar & Alexandra Cristea & Héber M. Delgado-Medrano, 2011. "Fighting Procrastination in the Workplace: An Experiment," NBER Working Papers 16944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16944
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16944.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Supreet Kaur & Michael Kremer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2015. "Self-Control at Work," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(6), pages 1227-1277.
    2. Saugato Datta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2014. "Behavioral Design: A New Approach to Development Policy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 7-35, March.
    3. Alberto Bisin & Kyle Hyndman, 2014. "Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Behr, Patrick & Drexler, Alejandro & Gropp, Reint & Guettler, Andre, 2014. "Financial incentives and loan officer behavior: Multitasking and allocation of effort under an incomplete contract," SAFE Working Paper Series 62, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    5. Michael D. Frakes & Melissa F. Wasserman, 2016. "Procrastination in the Workplace: Evidence from the U.S. Patent Office," NBER Working Papers 22987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bracha, Anat & Meier, Stephan, 2014. "Nudging credit scores in the field: the effect of text reminders on creditworthiness in the United States," Working Papers 15-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

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