Choice and Procrastination

Posted: 10 Aug 2000

See all articles by Ted O'Donoghue

Ted O'Donoghue

Cornell University - Department of Economics

Matthew Rabin

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2000


Recent models of procrastination due to self-control problems assume that a procrastinator considers just one option and is unaware of her self-control problems. We develop a model where a person chooses from a menu of options and is partially aware of her self-control problems. This menu model replicates earlier results and generates new ones. A person might forego completing an attractive option because she plans to complete a more attractive but never-to-be-completed option. Hence, providing a non-procrastinator additional options can induce procrastination, and a person may procrastinate worse pursuing important goals than unimportant ones.

Keywords: Choice, Naivete, Partial Naivete, Present-Biased Preferences, Procrastination, Self Control, Sophistication, Time Inconsistency

JEL Classification: A12, B49, C70, D11, D60, D74, D91, E21

Suggested Citation

O'Donoghue, Ted and Rabin, Matthew, Choice and Procrastination (April 2000). Available at SSRN:

Ted O'Donoghue (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
607-255-6287 (Phone)
607-255-2818 (Fax)

Matthew Rabin

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

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