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Dynamic model of procrastination


  • Vrany, Martin


Procrastination is the notorious tendency to postpone work for tomorrow. This paper presents a formal model of procrastination based on expectations and prospect theory, which differs signficantly from the prevalent model of O’Donoghue and Rabin. Subject is assumed to work on a task for distant reward which depends on the number of periods actually spent working, where the subject faces varying op- portunity costs of working each period before the deadline. In order to assess a hypothesis that procrastination is an evolved and stable habit, the model is rendered dynamic in that past decisions and circumstances affect the present. The model is first explored via qualitative analysis and simulations are performed to further reveal its functionality.

Suggested Citation

  • Vrany, Martin, 2010. "Dynamic model of procrastination," MPRA Paper 32618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32618

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Choice and Procrastination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 121-160.
    3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    4. 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.
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    More about this item


    procrastination; dynamic inconsistency; intertemporal choice; prospect theory; hyperbolic discounting; expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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