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Choice and Procrastination

  • Ted O' Donoghue

    (Cornell University)

  • Matthew Rabin

    (University of California, Berkeley)

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.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/mic/papers/0012/0012002.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0012002.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 02 Jan 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0012002
Note: 38 pages Acrobat .pdf
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
  2. Goldman, Steven Marc, 1979. "Intertemporally Inconsistent Preferences and the Rate of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 621-26, May.
  3. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
  4. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
  5. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
  6. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
  7. Fischer, Carolyn, 1999. "Read This Paper Even Later: Procrastination with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," Discussion Papers dp-99-20, Resources For the Future.
  8. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  9. 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.
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