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Simplification and Saving

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Author Info

  • John Beshears
  • James J. Choi
  • David Laibson
  • Brigitte C. Madrian

Abstract

The daunting complexity of important financial decisions can lead to procrastination. We evaluate a low-cost intervention that substantially simplifies the retirement savings plan participation decision. Individuals received an opportunity to enroll in a retirement savings plan at a pre-selected contribution rate and asset allocation, allowing them to collapse a multidimensional problem into a binary choice between the status quo and the pre-selected alternative. The intervention increases plan enrollment rates by 10 to 20 percentage points. We find that a similar intervention can be used to increase contribution rates among employees who are already participating in a savings plan.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12659.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12659

Note: AG LS PE
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References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "For Better or for Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 81-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," NBER Working Papers 13623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2010. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1405-1432, April.
  5. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2005. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000488, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
  7. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
  8. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long & Philip Oreopoulos & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2009. "The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Decisions, and the Path of Least Resistance," NBER Working Papers 8655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2006. "Reducing the Complexity Costs of 401(k) Participation Through Quick Enrollment(TM)," NBER Working Papers 11979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Louis Kaplow, 2011. "Targeted savings and labor supply," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 507-518, October.
  2. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2011. "Behavioral economics perspectives on public sector pension plans," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 315-336, April.
  3. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 167-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Xiaodong Du & Hongli Feng & David A. Hennessy, 2014. "Rationality of Choices in Subsidized Crop Insurance Markets," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 14-wp545, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  5. Kuhn, Michael A. & Kuhn, Peter J. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2013. "The Importance of the Cognitive Environment for Intertemporal Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 7273, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Michael A. Kuhn & Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Self Control and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from Glucose and Depletion Interventions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4609, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2007. "How Are Preferences Revealed?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001760, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Phil Armour & Mary Daly, 2008. "Retirement savings and decision errors: lessons from behavioral economics," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jun6.
  9. Michael A. Kuhn & Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Self Control and Intertemporal Choice: Evidence from Glucose and Depletion Interventions," Post-Print halshs-00954539, HAL.
  10. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "Comment on "Who Chooses Defined Contribution Plans?"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 162-165 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Louis Kaplow, 2010. "Targeted Savings and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 15656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long & Philip Oreopoulos & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2009. "The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Peter Kooreman & Henriëtte Prast, 2010. "What Does Behavioral Economics Mean for Policy? Challenges to Savings and Health Policies in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(2), pages 101-122, June.

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