Pessimism and Overcommitment: An Online Experiment with Tempting YouTube Content

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Title: Pessimism and Overcommitment: An Online Experiment with Tempting YouTube Content
Authors: Ek, ClaesSamahita, Margaret
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Date: 24-Jan-2022
Online since: 2022-02-28T16:43:00Z
Abstract: This paper explores the possibility that demand for costly commitment may prove unnecessary and thus excessive. In an online experiment, subjects face a tedious productivity task where tempting YouTube videos invite procrastination. Subjects can pay for a commitment device that removes the videos with some probability less than one, allowing us to compare their willingness to pay with realized material and psychological costs of temptation. A significant share of subjects overestimate their commitment demand, being overly pessimistic about their performance when tempted. However, the total realized ex-post disutility from undercommitment is greater than that from overcommitment.
Funding Details: Torsten Söderberg Foundation
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Economics
Start page: 1
End page: 49
Series/Report no.: UCD Centre for Economic Research Working Paper Series; WP2022/03
Copyright (published version): 2022 the Authors
Keywords: Commitment devicesPessimismSelf-control
JEL Codes: C91; D03; D91
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License:
Appears in Collections:Geary Institute Research Collection
Economics Working Papers & Policy Papers

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