DP16364 On the Optimal Scheduling of Attention
|Author(s):||Kfir Eliaz, Daniel Fershtman, Alexander Frug|
|Publication Date:||July 2021|
|Keyword(s):||Allocation of attention, multi-armed bandits, Multitasking, Scheduling, Task juggling, Time management|
|Programme Areas:||Industrial Organization|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16364|
We consider a decision-maker sequentially choosing which task to attend to when payoffs depend on both the chosen and unchosen tasks. We show that when tasks are substitutes (complements) such that the flow payoffs are a sum (product) of the tasks' outputs, the optimal policy is an index policy, generalizing the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) property known in the classic multi-armed bandit problem. We illustrate the usefulness of our model through several applications, including repeated bargaining, dynamic occupational choice, on-the-job training, R\&D, and dynamic supervision.