Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 618: Deadlines and Distractions

Maria Saez-Marti and Anna Sjögren ()
Additional contact information
Maria Saez-Marti: The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Anna Sjögren: The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

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

JEL-codes: D81; J22; M50

18 pages, First version: April 13, 2004. Revised: July 1, 2004.

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