Deadlines, Work Flows, Task Sorting, and Work Quality
55 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2013 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 9, 2013
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
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