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Present-bias, procrastination and deadlines in a field experiment

Alberto Bisin and Kyle Hyndman

Games and Economic Behavior, 2020, vol. 119, issue C, 339-357

Abstract: We study procrastination in the context of a field experiment involving students who must exert costly effort to complete certain tasks by a fixed deadline. We document a robust demand for commitment, in the form of self-imposed deadlines. On the other hand, deadlines do not increase completion rates in our experiment. Furthermore, while we find that present-bias is widespread in the sample, and present-biased students procrastinate in single task treatments, we find that they successfully manage to self-control in repeated task treatments. Finally, we find evidence that students do not set deadlines optimally and that deadlines may hurt them, due to various behavioral components of students' anticipation formation mechanisms; specifically, partial naïveté at the deadline setting stage and over-confidence about the ability to complete the task and to persevere on a task after a failed attempt.

Keywords: Procrastination; Deadlines; Commitment; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2019.11.010

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