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【明理讲堂2022年第30期】5-27美国诺特丹大学Xuying Zhao副教授:Microtasking Design in Self-Improvement Apps: Theoretical Lens from Present Bias

报告人:Xuying Zhao副教授 美国诺特丹大学


腾讯会议号:165 708 585


Microtasking, or dividing a task into small chunks, is often suggested for self-improvement programs with delayed benefits that people find challenging to follow through. It is, however, unclear when microtasking can help, and if so, how to design the microtasks taking the pricing of the program into account. Through building a behavioral economics framework that explicitly characterizes users’ present bias and their naivety about such bias, we investigate when a self-improvement app should adopt the microtasking strategy and examine related design issues. We find that microtasking is profitable under two different circumstances: first, it is profitable when the program has a decreasing return with a high diminishing speed. In such a case, the starting microtask of the program should be designed relatively easy to complete to broaden participation. Second, it is also profitable when the program has an increasing return and users’ naivety is relatively low. In such a case, microtasking can help users mitigate their present bias, i.e., the tendency to weigh immediate costs more heavily than future benefits. We show that the program provider does not always benefit from microtasking. Moreover, though consumers as a whole are better off, microtasking may aggravate the negative effect of present bias for some users and make them worse off. Our findings provide several implications for self-improvement apps and policymakers.


Xuying Zhao is an associate professor at University of Notre Dame. She conducts research on supply chain management and service operations management. In recent papers, she has investigated theoretical models of channel competition and coordination, advance selling strategy, time based competition in service industry, and inventory management with limited demand information. Her main research interest is in E-commerce and platform economics.Xuying teaches core courses on business process analytics. After gaining a BA in Computer Science from ZheJiang University in China, she subsequently earned an M.S. and Ph.D in Management Science from University of Texas at Dallas.