NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Justin S. White

University of California, San Francisco
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies
3333 California Street, Box 0936
San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: 415-476-8045

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Institutional Affiliation: University of California, San Francisco

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2019Estimating Biases in Smoking Cessation: Evidence from a Field Experiment
with Frank J. Chaloupka IV, Matthew R. Levy: w26522
We conduct a randomized field experiment to quantify biases that affect consumers of addictive goods: present-biased preferences, naïve beliefs regarding present bias, and projection-biased beliefs over future abstinence. These biases reflect departures from the neoclassical benchmark needed to accommodate intertemporal and state-dependent prediction errors and have important theoretical and policy ramifications. Our experiment employs a new approach for remote monitoring to ensure truthful reporting of behavior and valuations, and a novel identification of subjects’ biases based on willingness to pay for future abstinence incentives that serve as partial commitment devices. We find that cigarette smokers overestimate their likelihood of future abstinence by more than 100%, consistent with...
 
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