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Do pension plans with participant investment choice teach households to hold more equity?

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  • Scott Weisbenner
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    Abstract

    Some retirement plans allow the participant to choose how funds are invested. Having to direct investments may provide the participant with financial education. This paper finds that households covered by pension plans in which the employee chooses investments are significantly more apt to hold stock outside of their retirement plan than are households with pension plans offering no such choice. The effect of investment choice upon non-pension asset allocation cannot be explained by portfolio rebalancing or differences in income and saving preferences across households. This provides some evidence that the design of a pension plan can influence an employee's financial decisions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-61.

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    Date of creation: 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-61

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    Keywords: Pensions ; Saving and investment;

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    1. James M. Poterba & Andrew Samwick, 2001. "Household Portfolio Allocation over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: Aging Issues in the United States and Japan, pages 65-104 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1998. "Effects of Pensions on Saving: Analysis with Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 6681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
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    6. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel M. Garrett, 1996. "The Determinants and Consequences of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Households," NBER Working Papers 5667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel M. Garrett & Dean M. Maki, 1997. "Education and Saving: The Long-Term Effects of High School Financial Curriculum Mandates," NBER Working Papers 6085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 2009. "The Effects Of Financial Education In The Workplace: Evidence From A Survey Of Employers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(4), pages 605-624, October.
    10. Sunden, Annika E & Surette, Brian J, 1998. "Gender Differences in the Allocation of Assets in Retirement Savings Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 207-11, May.
    11. Papke, Leslie, 1998. "How Are Participanats Investing Their Accounts in Participant-Directed Individual Account Pension Plans?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 212-16, May.
    12. William F. Bassett & Michael J. Fleming & Anthony P. Rodrigues, 1998. "How workers use 401(k) plans: the participation, contribution, and withdrawal decisions," Staff Reports 38, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    13. Mervyn A. King & Jonathan I. Leape, 1987. "Asset Accumulation, Information, and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 2392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Zvi Bodie & Robert C. Merton & William F. Samuelson, 1992. "Labor Supply Flexibility and Portfolio Choice in a Life-Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 3954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.
    16. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
    17. Thaler, Richard H, 1994. "Psychology and Savings Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 186-92, May.
    18. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
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    Cited by:
    1. Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2002. "Investor behavior and the purchase of company stock in 401(k) plans - the importance of plan design," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Carol Bertaut & Martha Starr-McCluer, 2000. "Household portfolios in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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