IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/19874.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto Bisin
  • Kyle Hyndman

Abstract

We study procrastination in the context of a field experiment involving students who must exert costly effort to complete certain tasks by a fixed deadline. Students display a strong demand for commitment in the form of self-imposed deadlines. However, deadlines appear not to increase task completion rates. Students who report themselves as being more disorganized delay task completion significantly more. We estimate that the fraction of students displaying present bias in our sample is over 40%. Furthermore, we structurally estimate present bias and other possible behavioral aspects of students' decision making by fitting the experimental data on both completion rates and failed attempts through a stylized stopping time choice model. The point estimate of present bias is 30% in our preferred specification. Present-bias appears, however, not to significantly affect behavior in the context of repeated similar tasks. This suggests various frame effects whereby repeated similar task activate internal self-control. Beyond present bias, our results indicate that other behavioral characteristics play an important role in inducing procrastination.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Bisin & Kyle Hyndman, 2014. "Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19874 Note: CH ED
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19874.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
    2. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 164-187, February.
    3. Marco Casari, 2009. "Pre-commitment and flexibility in a time decision experiment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 117-141, April.
    4. Burger, Nicholas & Charness, Gary & Lynham, John, 2011. "Field and online experiments on self-control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 393-404, March.
    5. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 193-210, January.
    6. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, May.
    7. Daniel Houser & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter & Erte Xiao, 2017. "Temptation and Commitment in the Laboratory," Working Papers 1720, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    8. Xavier Giné & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Put Your Money Where Your Butt Is: A Commitment Contract for Smoking Cessation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 213-235, October.
    9. Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
    10. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    11. Alessandro Tarozzi & Aprajit Mahajan, 2011. "Time Inconsistency, Expectations and Technology Adoption: The Case of Insecticide Treated Nets," Working Papers 11-14, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    12. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Jonathan Morduch, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1118-1139, April.
    13. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & Melonie B. Williams, 2002. "Estimating Individual Discount Rates in Denmark: A Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1606-1617, December.
    14. Alexander L. Brown & Zhikang Eric Chua & Colin F. Camerer, 2009. "Learning and Visceral Temptation in Dynamic Saving Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 197-231.
    15. Marco Casari & Davide Dragone, 2015. "Choice reversal without temptation: A dynamic experiment on time preferences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 119-140, April.
    16. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    17. Battaglini, Marco & Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Self-control in peer groups," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 105-134, August.
    18. repec:zur:iewwpx:488 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Novarese, Marco & Di Giovinazzo, Viviana, 2013. "Promptness and Academic Performance," MPRA Paper 49746, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. 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.
    21. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    22. 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.
    23. repec:lmu:muenar:19377 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. 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.
    25. Benhabib, Jess & Bisin, Alberto & Schotter, Andrew, 2010. "Present-bias, quasi-hyperbolic discounting, and fixed costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 205-223, July.
    26. Mark Dean & Anja Sautmann, 2014. "Credit Constraints and the Measurement of Time Preferences," Working Papers 2014-1, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    27. Benhabib, Jess & Bisin, Alberto, 2005. "Modeling internal commitment mechanisms and self-control: A neuroeconomics approach to consumption-saving decisions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 460-492, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2015. "Procrastination, academic success and the effectiveness of a remedial program," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 217-236.
    2. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    3. V. Rattini, 2016. "Managing the Workload: an Experiment on Individual Decision Making and Performance," Working Papers wp1080, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    4. Jonathan D. Cohen & Keith Marzilli Ericson & David Laibson & John Myles White, 2016. "Measuring Time Preferences," NBER Working Papers 22455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alexander K. Koch & Julia Nafziger, 2017. "Motivational Goal Bracketing: An Experiment," Economics Working Papers 2017-06, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    6. 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.
    7. Mette Trier Damgaard & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Nudging in education," Economics Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19874. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.