Strict deadlines and public humiliation

My co-author Bruce Chapman has substantial administrative responsibilities, which are invariably urgent, and therefore tend to crowd out research. Our paper requires some relatively minor edits before going out to a journal, and the necessary changes are up his alley. So he emails me the following request:

Impose on me a strict deadline in the very short run to do the revision, and somehow manage to publicly humiliate me if I don’t make it.

Bruce, I expect the changes by Friday. Compliance will be monitored via the blog.

Update 1: Joshua Gans doesn’t think my proposed punishment is sufficient, so helpfully weighs in with a few veiled threats of his own.

Update 2: Bruce made the deadline with hours to spare.

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7 Responses to Strict deadlines and public humiliation

  1. Harry Greenwell says:

    can we offer suggestions for Bruce’s public humiliation (if, in fact, it is required)? how about getting him to march around parliament house with a large sign recanting his advocacy of income-contingent loans?!

  2. Pingback: CoreEcon » Blog Archive » Humiliation as an enforcement mechanism

  3. Joshua Gans says:

    So I took a look at your unfinished paper and am wondering whether if overstate the marginal tax rate of 76000% you claim to study. After all, HECS debt doesn’t go away and if you expect your income to rise in the future and are investing in that now there are plenty of reasons not to keep income low to defer paying off that debt. Of course, you take that into account but this raises an issue of endogeneity. Surely, those who are on a high income path are also better in calculating marginal tax rates while those who are not, are not. Perhaps this is the reason that they find surprisingly little bunching. And if that is the case, perhaps there is more work for Bruce here than you believe.

  4. Andrew Leigh says:

    So we do have a section in the paper discussing the effective MTR if you’re deferring a debt repayment rather than avoiding a tax bill (as will be the case for most HECS debtors). But we don’t address your quasi-rational points. My first inclination is to say that it probably doesn’t matter all that much, since our core question is whether the sudden discontinuity creates undesirable effects. But thanks for the suggestion – I’ll have a chat with Bruce about it on Thursday night.

  5. derrida derider says:

    “I’ll have a chat with Bruce about it on Thursday night” – that doesn’t leave him a lot of time for that Friday deadline :-)

    But as I’ve commented previously, EMTRs are a poor guide to the size of incentive effect in any “sudden death” transition, because they then depend on the purely arbitrary choice of denominator. If we took the marginal increment as a cent rather than a dollar it’s 760000%.

    And Joshua’s point is valid – the effects of a threshold for deferral of the impost (which is what the HECS threshold usually is in practice) should indeed be very different to the effects of a threshold where the impost is avoided (eg for land taxes, payroll taxes, assets and income tests for welfare, etc). This means the lack of “bunching” for the HECS threshold says little about the potential effects of those other sudden death thresholds.

  6. Andrew Leigh says:

    DD, you’re entirely right. Fortunately, the current version does discuss all those issues!

  7. Thinking in old ways says:

    We are waiting ….

    Does the absence of comment mean that Bruce made the edits on time? If so should you go for positive reinforcement with a ‘Well done Bruce post’?

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