Why Do We Procrastinate? Present Bias and Optimism
49 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2019
Date Written: February 15, 2019
A large body of research has shown that procrastination can have significant adverse effects on individuals, including lower savings and poorer health. Such procrastination is typically modeled as the result of present bias. In this paper we study an alternative: excessively optimistic beliefs about future demands on an individual’s time. Our experimental results refute the hypothesis that present bias is the sole source of dynamic inconsistency, but they are consistent with optimism. These findings offer an explanation for low takeup of commitment and suggest that personalized information on past choices can mitigate procrastination.
JEL Classification: D90, D84, D15, J22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation