Present-bias, procrastination and deadlines in a field experiment

Alberto Bisin, Kyle Hyndman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)339-357
    Number of pages19
    JournalGames and Economic Behavior
    StatePublished - Jan 2020


    • Commitment
    • Deadlines
    • Experiment
    • Procrastination

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Present-bias, procrastination and deadlines in a field experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this