Deadlines, Work Flows, Task Sorting, and Work Quality

55 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2013 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by Natarajan Balasubramanian

Natarajan Balasubramanian

Syracuse University - Whitman School of Management

Jeongsik Lee

Drexel University - LeBow College of Business

Jagadeesh Sivadasan

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center

Date Written: August 9, 2013

Abstract

We examine deadlines-induced behavior using large-scale, high frequency data on about 5 million U.S. patents and published applications. We motivate the study with a model of rational agents facing discontinuous incentives around deadline thresholds, without using time-inconsistent preferences invoked in behavioral economics models of deadline-related behavior. Consistent with our model predictions, we find notable clustering of more complex patent applications around potential deadlines at month-, quarter- and year-ends, along with a small to moderate decline in work quality around those periods.

Keywords: Incentives, routines, productivity, time-inconsistent preferences, innovation, patents

JEL Classification: O30, O31, O34, L25, M54

Suggested Citation

Balasubramanian, Natarajan and Lee, Jeongsik and Sivadasan, Jagadeesh, Deadlines, Work Flows, Task Sorting, and Work Quality (August 9, 2013). Ross School of Business Paper No. 1199, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2319467 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2319467

Natarajan Balasubramanian (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - Whitman School of Management ( email )

United States

Jeongsik Lee

Drexel University - LeBow College of Business ( email )

3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Jagadeesh Sivadasan

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

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