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Deadlines and Cognitive Limitations

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6
Author
Steffen Altmann Christian Traxler Philipp Weinschenk
Category
Quantitative
Date Posted
2022/11/22
Date Retrieved
2022/11/22
Date Revised
Date Written
Description
This paper studies the interplay between deadlines and cognitive limitations. We analyze an agents decision to complete a one-off task under a deadline. Postponing the task can be beneficial for the agent; missing the deadline however leads to a drop in the agents rewards. If the agent exhibits cognitive limitations postponing increases the risk of becoming inattentive and failing to complete the task in time. Our framework provides a rich set of predictions on the behavioral implications of deadlines.We test these predictions in a field experiment at a dental clinic in which we exogenously vary deadlines and rewards for arranging check-up appointments. The empirical results underline the behavioral relevance of cognitive limitations. Imposing relatively tight deadlines induces patients to act earlier and at a persistently higher frequency than without a deadline. Evidence from a follow-up experiment and complementary surveys supports the notion that deadlines may serve as a powerful i
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JEL Classifications
C93 D03 D91
Keywords
deadlines cognitive limitations limited memory field experiment
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Pages
68
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URL
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4283404
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