Sometimes we have a hard time committing ourselves - whether it's quitting a bad habit or following through on a worthy goal. In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we share stories about "commitment devices." They're a clever way to force yourself to do something that you know will be hard.
Host Stephen Dubner talks to a struggling gambler who signs himself up for a program that bans him from state casinos - only to return, win a jackpot and have it confiscated. We'll also hear from a new father trying to shed bad habits. So he makes a list of things he wants to change and vows to pay a penalty if he can't shape up in 30 days. The penalty? He'd write a $750 check to someone he really dislikes: Oprah Winfrey.
Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt offers a few of his own off-the-wall commitment devices, and Brown economist Anna Aizer talks about using commitment devices to fight domestic violence.