Procrastination in Teams

40 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016 Last revised: 6 Feb 2016

See all articles by Joshua S. Gans

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Peter Landry

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

Naively present-biased agents are known to be severe procrastinators. In team settings, procrastination can represent a form of free-riding that, in excess, can jeopardize a team's ability to meet a deadline. Here we show how naivete and present bias, despite their reputations, can be desirable traits in a teammate, enabling a team to optimize its performance while eliminating inefficient free-riding. These benefits emerge only from a more flexible specification (in comparison to existing models) as to how naive players reassess prior beliefs upon confronting present bias. By allowing the 'depth' and 'direction' of such reassessments to vary, our model links present-biased discounting theories to the recently-revived interest in modeling non-Bayesian reactions to null events, while offering a distinct approach reminiscent of level-k reasoning. Key themes from our results include the value of behavioral diversity, the opposite effects of 'introspection' and 'extrospection' on motivation, and that under- and over-thinking can both undermine efficiency.

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and Landry, Peter, Procrastination in Teams (January 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21891, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717302

Joshua S. Gans (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.joshuagans.com

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Peter Landry

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

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