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Field and Online Experiments on Procrastination and Willpower

Nicholas Burger, Gary Charness () and John Lynham

No 201012, Working Papers from University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics

Abstract: Self-control problems have recently received considerable attention from economic theorists. We conducted two studies to test the benefits of externally imposed deadlines and how willpower depletion affects behavior, providing some of the first data in these areas. Each study involved a behavioral intervention designed to affect performance. We find that for a lengthy task, regular deadlines neither reduce procrastination nor increase completion rates. Second, a willpower-depleting task reduces initial effort but increases overall task-completion rates. Our results help to inform ongoing efforts to understand and model procrastination, willpower and commitment mechanisms.

Keywords: Experiment; Behavioral Interventions; Procrastination; Willpower (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 B49 C91 C93 D00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-neu
Date: 2010-05-18
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