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Choice and Procrastination

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  • Ted O' Donoghue and Matthew Rabin.

Abstract

JEL#: A12, B49, C70, D11, D60, D74, D91, E21 Keywords: choice, naivete, partial naivete, present-biased preferences, procrastination, self control, sophistication, time inconsistency Recent models of procrastination due to self-control problems assume that a procrastinator considers just one option and is unaware of her self-control problems. We develop a model where a person chooses from a menu of options and is partially aware of her self-control problems. This menu model replicates earlier results and generates new ones. A person might forego completing an attractive option because she plans to complete a more attractive but never-to-be-completed option. Hence, providing a non-procrastinator additional options can induce procrastination, and a person may procrastinate worse pursuing important goals than unimportant ones. June 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Ted O' Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Choice and Procrastination," Economics Working Papers E00-281, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:e00-281
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. R. A. Pollak, 1968. "Consistent Planning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 201-208.
    2. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    3. R. H. Strotz, 1955. "Myopia and Inconsistency in Dynamic Utility Maximization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 165-180.
    4. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
    5. Goldman, Steven Marc, 1979. "Intertemporally Inconsistent Preferences and the Rate of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 621-626, May.
    6. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers 10725, Resources for the Future.
    7. 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.
    8. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
    9. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
    10. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    11. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-193, Fall.
    12. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    choice; naivete; partial naivete; present-biased preferences; procrastination; self control; sophistication; time inconsistency recent models of procrastination due to self-control problems assume that a procrastinator considers just one option and is unaware of her self-control problems. we develop a model where a person chooses from a menu of options and is partially aware of her self-control problems. this menu model replicates earlier results and generates new ones. a person might forego completing an attractive option because she plans to complete a more attractive but never-to-be-completed option. hence; providing a non-procrastinator additional options can induce procrastination; and a person may procrastinate worse pursuing important goals than unimportant ones. june 2000;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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