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Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment

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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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    Cited by:

    1. Altmann, Steffen & Traxler, Christian & Weinschenk, Philipp, 2017. "Deadlines and Cognitive Limitations," IZA Discussion Papers 11129, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Avdeenko, Alexandra & Bohne, Albrecht & Frölich, Markus, 2019. "Linking savings behavior, confidence and individual feedback: A field experiment in Ethiopia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 122-151.
    6. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2020. "Motivational goal bracketing: An experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    7. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.
    8. V. Rattini, 2016. "Managing the Workload: an Experiment on Individual Decision Making and Performance," Working Papers wp1080, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    9. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Henderson, Austin, 2018. "Experimental methods: Measuring effort in economics experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 74-87.
    10. Jonathan Cohen & Keith Marzilli Ericson & David Laibson & John Myles White, 2020. "Measuring Time Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(2), pages 299-347, June.
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    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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