Why be on time?

In the article “Punctuality is inefficient, Q.E.D.” by Andrew Chamberlain, it brings out the point of how people set a time and place to meet and invariably one or both parties are late in accordance to the time set pervious. Why does showing up late happen so much in society these days? As was pointed out in the article it’s because no one wants to wait and it’s costly if you look at it in economical terms.
The more time you spend waiting on someone the more costly it is too you which is a negative externality. If someone shows up early and the other person is late then it’s even more costly for the early person. Arrival times can be thought of as economical cost factor and the price changes with the arrival time. People hate their time being wasted so the end solution is to show up late and it will not be their time and money being waited.
If one has a time deadline that has to be meet then a good idea would be tell everyone an earlier time therefore, when they are late they really will be one time. An example of this would be you having a dinner at 7:00 p.m. and telling everyone it’s at 6:30 p.m. This way when everyone shows up late, the dinner still will start on time.



Drake said...

I love this post. It is so critical to be punctual. In today's world of business time is money in a more literal sense than we can probably even understand. For example, consider a college class. If many people are showing up late to class this interferes with how much time is left for the lecture. As students we pay for that precious time, and its worth something. So even in this example totally unrelated to everyday business you can see how being punctual can reap at least an economic benefit of more time spent in class talking about the subject matter rather than being disrupted by students walking in late.

Dale said...

I think that being on time has a great impact on economic development, because there are things to do and accomplish each day. When I lived in South America people were always late. It was part of their culture. This shows in the economic system of their country. By always being late they are wasting their opportunity costs. There is a lot of extra time being wasted waiting on late people. This time adds up quickly and could be used more effectively.

Tom said...

Time is money! I never looked at being on time as something to do with economics, but when you think about it it really makes sense. The whole scope of economics is weighing costs and benefits and choosing the route that has the greatest benefits. Not much thought is given to being on time unless you weigh the costs and benefits. It is very costly to you when someone is late. The tardiness of someone else puts a cost on you. You start thinking what you could be doing but can't because someone's taking your time or your money because time is money. There should be "time police" to catch these tardy people because their in a sense thieves.

Bart said...

I was raised in a home where you had to be on time or get in trouble, and that has stuck with me my whole life. I think that it is just inconsiderate to be late.If you ask my wife she could tell you how being late is one of the things that makes me madder than any thing

Jim said...

Perhaps being late can be concered rude and a negative externality. However, I believe the majority of the people today are not thinking about who's money they are wasting, I think it is a custom we as US citizens have got ourselves into and have no idea how to get out. So if you come up with the answer on how to get ourselves out of this mess, post away.

Eric said...

I think the answer is right before us, it’s Technology! So what if my dinner appointment is running a little late. I have taken the time to check my e-mail, look at my account balance and flirt with my girlfriend all on my little cell phone. Technology allows me a poor college student to get things done no matter where I find my self. So if I waste time it is no one's fault but my own!

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 for a poorly formatted link (waived)

-1 for poor punctuation in Bart's comment (waived)

-1 for poor grammar in Jim's comment (waived)

Being on time is an example of a (two-person) game with two equilibria: one is both parties are on time, and the other is both parties are late. The latter will tend to predominate if the costs imposed on the late are not large enough (as in Bart's family).