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Factors affecting completion of a matched savings program: Impacts of time preference, discount rate, and financial hardship

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  • Manturuk, Kim
  • Dorrance, Jessica
  • Riley, Sarah
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    Abstract

    There is a general consensus among researchers and policymakers that matched savings programs can significantly increase the propensity to save among low-income households. This study offers a unique contribution to the field by testing whether principals and theories from behavioral economics affect the decisions that participants make in these savings programs. Using a sample of people participating in the $aveNYC program, a matched savings program for very low-income households, we test whether information failure, time preference, and financial hardship affected people's ability to complete the program and receive the match money. We find that future orientation does not significantly impact program completion, but both information failure and financial hardship increase the hazard of early account closure. Although the pool of participants who did not receive the match was small, both information failure and financial hardship had large impacts on the risk of withdrawing the account before receiving a match. We discuss how these findings can inform program design and suggest future research.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S105353571200100X
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 836-842

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:6:p:836-842

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

    Related research

    Keywords: Time preference; Discount rate; Savings; Tax refund; Survival analysis;

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    1. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    2. Bertrand, Marianne & Shafir, Eldar & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2004. "A Behavioral Economics View of Poverty," Scholarly Articles 2907437, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Timothy M. Smeeding & Katherin Ross Phillips & Michael O'Connor, 2000. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use and Economic and Social Mobility," JCPR Working Papers 139, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. Smeeding, Timothy M. & Phillips, Katherin Ross & O’Connor, Michael, 2000. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1187-210, December .
    5. Beverly, Sondra G. & Sherraden, Michael, 1999. "Institutional determinants of saving: implications for low-income households and public policy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 457-473.
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