Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 2 > Issue 4

Some Insights on Procrastination: A Curse or a Productive Art?

Leonardo Becchetti, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, , Nazaria Solferino, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, Maria Elisabetta Tessitore, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy
Suggested Citation
Leonardo Becchetti, Nazaria Solferino and Maria Elisabetta Tessitore (2015), "Some Insights on Procrastination: A Curse or a Productive Art?", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 2: No. 4, pp 331-351.

Publication Date: 30 Dec 2015
© 2015 L. Becchetti, N. Solferino, and M. E. Tessitore
Time-inconsistent preferencesOptimal effortProcrastinationIntertemporal choice


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. The Basic Model 
3. Bad and Good Procrastination 
4. Discussion and Policy Implications of Bad and Good Procrastination 
5. The Curse of Perfectionism 
6. Productive Procrastination 
7. Conclusions 


The choice between performing a task today or procrastinating it until tomorrow or later is the building block of any economic action. In our paper, we aim to enrich the theoretical literature on procrastination by allowing for the possibility of good procrastination together with bad procrastination, and by documenting how procrastination may arise from incomplete information and hyperbolic discounting without further departures from standard preference assumptions. More specifically, we look at the special cases of pathological procrastination, the curse of perfectionism and productive procrastination. We further discuss how our theoretical framework may be applied to different types of (education, investment and production) microeconomic decisions and outline how optimal policy measures change when we consider the possibility of good as well as bad procrastination.