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Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment

Author

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  • 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. Descriptively, we document a strong demand for commitment, in the form of self-imposed deadlines, which appear to be associated with students' self-reported psychological characteristics and cost of time. We structurally estimate students' present-bias and cost of time by fitting the experimental data to a stylized stopping time choice model. We find that present-bias is relatively widespread but that having multiple repeated tasks appears to activate effective internal self-control mechanisms. Finally, we also document an important form of partial naïveté on the part of students in anticipating their ability to self-control when setting deadlines.

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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Altmann, Steffen & Traxler, Christian & Weinschenk, Philipp, 2017. "Deadlines and Cognitive Limitations," IZA Discussion Papers 11129, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    4. 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.
    5. Muller, Paul & Habla, Wolfgang, 2018. "Experimental and non-experimental evidence on limited attention and present bias at the gym," Working Papers in Economics 743, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    7. V. Rattini, 2016. "Managing the Workload: an Experiment on Individual Decision Making and Performance," Working Papers wp1080, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Alexander K. Koch & Julia Nafziger, 2017. "Motivational Goal Bracketing: An Experiment," Economics Working Papers 2017-06, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:74-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. repec:spr:jbecon:v:88:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11573-017-0865-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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.
    13. repec:eee:jbrese:v:92:y:2018:i:c:p:210-218 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

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

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