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Time Allocation and Task Juggling

Decio Coviello, Andrea Ichino and Nicola Persico

American Economic Review, 2014, vol. 104, issue 2, 609-23

Abstract: A single worker allocates her time among different projects which are progressively assigned. When the worker works on too many projects at the same time, the output rate decreases and completion time increases according to a law which we derive. We call this phenomenon "task juggling" and argue that it is pervasive in the workplace. We show that task juggling is a strategic substitute of worker effort. We then present a model where task juggling is the result of lobbying by clients, or coworkers, each seeking to get the worker to apply effort to his project ahead of the others'.

JEL-codes: J22 M12 M54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.2.609
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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:2:p:609-23