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Procrastination in Teams

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  • Joshua S. Gans
  • Peter Landry

Abstract

Naively present-biased agents are known to be severe procrastinators. In team settings, procrastination can represent a form of free-riding that, in excess, can jeopardize a team's ability to meet a deadline. Here we show how naivete and present bias, despite their reputations, can be desirable traits in a teammate, enabling a team to optimize its performance while eliminating inefficient free-riding. These benefits emerge only from a more flexible specification (in comparison to existing models) as to how naive players reassess prior beliefs upon confronting present bias. By allowing the 'depth' and 'direction' of such reassessments to vary, our model links present-biased discounting theories to the recently-revived interest in modeling non-Bayesian reactions to null events, while offering a distinct approach reminiscent of level-k reasoning. Key themes from our results include the value of behavioral diversity, the opposite effects of 'introspection' and 'extrospection' on motivation, and that under- and over-thinking can both undermine efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua S. Gans & Peter Landry, 2016. "Procrastination in Teams," NBER Working Papers 21891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21891
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D, 2001. "Rush and Procrastination under Hyperbolic Discounting and Interdependent Activities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 141-164, March.
    2. Mark Bagnoli & Barton L. Lipman, 1989. "Provision of Public Goods: Fully Implementing the Core through Private Contributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 583-601.
    3. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2006. "A Change Would Do You Good .... An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 669-693, June.
    4. Haan, Marco & Hauck, Dominic, 2014. "Games With Possibly Naive Hyperbolic Discounters," MPRA Paper 57960, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Zafer Akin, 2007. "Time inconsistency and learning in bargaining games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 36(2), pages 275-299, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management

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