Commit to Quit: Commitment Contracts for Smoking Cessation

This study will examine how advance commitment to a commitment contract impacts smoking cessation rates, by affecting the likelihood of taking up a commitment contract. By shifting the decision to start a commitment contract into an earlier time period, the option of pre-commitment negates the effect that present bias can have on the decision to commit in the moment. Thus, we expect that pre-commitment will increase the likelihood of an individual agreeing to a contract in the future, thereby increasing quit rates. We will recruit smokers from a general population in the Chicago metropolitan area and randomly assign respondents to one of four groups: a control group, a treatment group offered a deposit contract (a form of commitment contract) for smoking cessation, a second treatment group offered the option to pre-commit, a month in advance, to a deposit contract for smoking cessation, or a fourth group offered a deposit contract, and then if the offer is declined, offered the option to pre-commit. Further, we will provide causal evidence on how awareness that commitment contracts can assist with smoking cessation affects demand for commitment contracts. Deposit recovery for the treatment groups will be conditional on biochemical verification of self-reported smoking cessation. The primary outcomes of interest will be long-term cessation, measured 6 months after the interventions end. A short baseline and endline survey will also be administered to measure characteristics and outcomes related to smoking behavior.

RFP Cycle:
HCDI RFP III [Feb 2015]
United States of America
  • Samantha Horn
  • Amanda Kowalski
  • Jody Sindelar
  • Daren Anderson
  • Full project