Dear Economist,I am familiar with this because in past years in my classroom I would set the clock 3-4 minutes slow, which typically prevented students from packing up their books when there was still 5 minutes left in class.
I have the habit of setting my watch five minutes fast. This fools me into avoiding being three minutes late for meetings, or the train – well, more often than not – and instead being two minutes early. But if I am a rational economic agent, how do I succeed in fooling myself so systematically?
Yours (in haste),
Your first instinct would be that people learn the pattern pretty quickly and adjust their mental clocks to account for the difference. But it still works. Why do you think people succeed in fooling themselves and rational others with this?
Here is Harford's answer.
Here is a clock that assists people in fooling themselves by randomizing how fast the clock actually is (within a range).