How Real People Make Long-Term Decisions: The Case of Retirement Preparation
AbstractA canonical but untested assumption in economics is that choices are determined only by preferences and budget constraints, but not by how people approach decision making. In particular, it is believed that people behave “as if they optimized”, even if they do not engage in any formal planning. We test this empirically in the domain of retirement saving using a specifically designed survey. We find that people who rely on a rule of thumb indeed behave like literal planners/optimizers. However, people without any systematic approach save substantially less. We discuss the implications of this finding.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2009-73.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl
Decision process; planning; rule of thumb; retirement saving; household finance;
Other versions of this item:
- Binswanger, Johannes & Carman, Katherine Grace, 2012. "How real people make long-term decisions: The case of retirement preparation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 39-60.
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
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