NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Erik Blumenkranz

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Working Papers

December 2010Committing to Exercise: Contract Design for Virtuous Habit Formation
with Jeremy D. Goldhaber-Fiebert, Alan M. Garber: w16624
Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and obesity-related chronic diseases have become increasingly common among U.S. adults, posing a major health policy challenge. While individuals may be interested in exercising more to reduce these health risks, they often have difficultly forming long-term exercise habits. Behavioral economic devices like commitment contracts aid individuals make repeated actions in situations where there are upfront costs and the benefits, though substantial, are delayed. It is not known whether such contracts can help individuals to sustain increased exercise. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to test whether nudges and anchoring could be used to shift the types of exercise commitment contracts people entered into using a web-based contract creation tool. At the ...

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