Present-Bias, Procrastination and Deadlines in a Field Experiment
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. Descriptively, we document a strong demand for commitment, in the form of self-imposed deadlines, which appear to be associated with students' self-reported psychological characteristics and cost of time. We structurally estimate students' present-bias and cost of time by fitting the experimental data to a stylized stopping time choice model. We find that present-bias is relatively widespread but that having multiple repeated tasks appears to activate effective internal self-control mechanisms. Finally, we also document an important form of partial naïveté on the part of students in anticipating their ability to self-control when setting deadlines.
We thank the Editor and two anonymous referees for exceptionally useful comments which lead us to a complete revision. We thank Anne Stubing, Aditya Bhandari, Margaret Ford, Taylor McBride, and Daniel Vaughan for their excellent help with the experiments; Nicholas DePinto, Chardonnay Phelan, and Severine Toussaert for their research assistance; and Anwar Ruff for his programming expertise. We thank the Center for Experimental Social Science for their generous use of their lab. We have received very helpful comments from Gary Charness, Chetan Dave, John Duffy, Guillaume Frechette, Anett John, David Laibson, David Levine, Johanna Mollerstrom, Andy Schotter, and many seminar participants. Thanks also to Dan Ariely for kindly providing us with the data regarding his seminal experiment on procrastination with Klaus Wertenbroch. Financial support from Southern Methodist University (Hyndman) and from the Center for Experimental Social Science (Bisin & Hyndman) and the C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics (Bisin) is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Alberto Bisin & Kyle Hyndman, 2019. "Present-bias, procrastination and deadlines in a field experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, . citation courtesy of