Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

Delay as Agenda Setting

by James J. Anton and Dennis A. Yao


We examine a multi-issue dynamic decision-making process that involves endogenous commitment. Our primary focus is on actions that impact delay, an extreme form of lack of commitment. Delay is strategically interesting when decision makers with asymmetric preferences face multiple issues and have limited resources for influencing outcomes. A delayed decision becomes part of the subsequent agenda, thereby altering the allocation of resources. The opportunity to delay decisions leads the players to act against their short-run interests by changing the expected decision delay. We characterize delay equilibria and explore how delay affects agenda preferences and, when possible, bargaining.

Keywords: Decision Making; Resource Allocation; Conflict of Interests; Power and Influence; Strategy;


Anton, James J., and Dennis A. Yao. "Delay as Agenda Setting." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-082, February 2011. (Revised September 2012.)