Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 618:
Deadlines and Distractions

Maria Saez-Marti and Anna Sjögren ()

Abstract: We analyze the effect of deadlines on timing of effort when agents are occasionaly distracted. We show that agents precautiously work early when completion of the task is uncertain, but rather likely. Agents who are rarely distracted will always postpone effort since the risk of not completing is small. As a result, increasing the probability of being distracted may even increase the likelihood of meeting the deadline. We further show that introducing the possibility of having the deadline extended may improve the total probability of completing the task without reducing the probability of completing within the originally announced deadline.

Keywords: Deadlines; Timing of Effort; Optimal Incentives; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D81; J22; M50; (follow links to similar papers)

18 pages, April 13, 2004, Revised July 1, 2004

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