University of Chicago Booth School of Business
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Chicago, IL 60637
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2015||Self Control and Commitment: Can Decreasing the Liquidity of a Savings Account Increase Deposits?|
with John Beshears, James J. Choi, Christopher Harris, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian: w21474
If individuals have self-control problems, they may take up commitment contracts that restrict their spending. We experimentally investigate how contract design affects the demand for commitment contracts. Each participant divides money between a liquid account, which permits unrestricted withdrawals, and a commitment account with withdrawal restrictions that are randomized across participants. When the two accounts pay the same interest rate, the most illiquid commitment account attracts more money than any of the other commitment accounts. We show theoretically that this pattern is consistent with the presence of sophisticated present-biased agents, who prefer more illiquid commitment accounts even if they are subject to uninsurable marginal utility shocks drawn from a broad class of dis...