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Procrastination, self-imposed deadlines and other commitment devices

  • Bisin, Alberto
  • Hyndman, Kyle

In this paper we model a decision maker who must exert costly effort to complete a single task by a fixed deadline. Effort costs evolve stochastically in continuous time. The decision maker will then optimally wait to exert effort until costs are less than a given threshold, the solution to an optimal stopping time problem. We derive the solution to this model for three cases: (1) time consistent decision makers, (2) naıve hyperbolic discounters and (3) sophisticated hyperbolic discounters. Sophisticated hyperbolic discounters behave as if they were time consistent but instead have a smaller reward for completing the task. We show that sophisticated decision makers will often self-impose a deadline to ensure early completion of the task. Other forms of commitment are also discussed.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16235.

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Date of creation: 16 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16235
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  1. Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 2001. "Instantaneous Gratification," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000267, David K. Levine.
  2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f2, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  4. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
  5. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  6. Jianjun Miao, 2004. "Option Exercise with Temptation," Microeconomics 0409002, EconWPA.
  7. Peter Carr & Robert Jarrow & Ravi Myneni, 1992. "Alternative Characterizations Of American Put Options," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 87-106.
  8. Saez-Marti, Maria & Sjögren, Anna, 2008. "Deadlines and distractions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 153-176, November.
  9. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Filippos Papakonstantinou & Jonathan A. Parker, 2008. "An Economic Model of the Planning Fallacy," NBER Working Papers 14228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nicholas Burger & Gary Charness & John Lynham, 2008. "Three Field Experiments on Procrastination and Willpower," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002399, David K. Levine.
  11. E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
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