Do Deadlines Affect Project Completion? Experimental Evidence from Israeli Vocational Colleges

Naomi Gershoni, Miri Stryjan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We study a large-scale intervention aimed at increasing graduation rates in Israeli vocational colleges. In this context, the main reason for low graduation rates has been found to be the failure of students to complete the required final project. This may result from procrastination which is prevalent among students in many settings. To address procrastination, we introduce a deadline for final project defense in randomly selected departments while control group departments maintain the practice of scheduling defense dates on a rolling basis. We compare student performance over time in treated and control departments in a difference-in-differences framework and find no effect of deadlines on project defense or on graduation rates. A potential explanation for these findings is that there are other constraints faced by students, such as academic difficulties or a low perceived value of the diploma, which are not alleviated by the deadline. Using administrative and survey data, we find that deadlines have no effect even when the alternative constraints are not binding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-375
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Deadlines
  • Educational attainment
  • Field experiment
  • Higher education
  • Procrastination
  • Vocational education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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