How do People Procrastinate to Meet a Deadline?


Relying on e-learning data, I report here on an empirical investigation of daily home-work progress to assess procrastination among high school students, whose behavior is susceptible to present-bias. The homework entails a non-binding goal for the students. The main findings were as follows. First, the goal encouraged a considerable number of students to study more to achieve it. Second, high achievers procrastinated until close to the deadline, particularly females for Math homework. Finally, a considerable subset of high achievers worked hard at the last minute to meet a non-binding deadline. These findings imply that a non-binding goal strongly motivates such students’ self-control in goal achievement; however, the process in one of procrastination, and the deadline prevents further procrastination despite being non-binding.

Report No.: HIAS-E-33
Author(s): Yutaka Kayaba(a)
Affiliation: (a) Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University
Issued Date: September 2016
Keywords: Procrastination, non-binding goal, deadline
JEL: D03, D91, I21