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The Effect of Providing Peer Information on Retirement Savings Decisions

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

Abstract

We measure how receiving information about coworkers’ savings behavior affects recipients’ savings choices. Low-saving employees were sent a simplified 401(k) plan enrollment or contribution increase form. A randomized subset of forms included information on the (high) fraction of coworkers either participating in or contributing at least 6% of pay to the plan. We document an oppositional reaction: peer information decreased the savings of (unionized) recipients who were not eligible for automatic enrollment in the 401(k). We find no significant evidence that peer information altered the savings decisions of recipients who had previously opted out of automatic 401(k) enrollment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17345.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17345

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Dolan & Robert Metcalfe, 2013. "Neighbors, Knowledge, and Nuggets: Two Natural Field Experiments on the Role of Incentives on Energy Conservation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1222, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Cai, Jing & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2013. "Social Networks and the Decision to Insure," MPRA Paper 46861, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Dean Karlan, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda-Working Paper 346," Working Papers 346, Center for Global Development.
  4. Ariel BenYishay & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2013. "Communicating with Farmers through Social Networks," Working Papers 1030, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  5. Leonardo Bursztyn & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Noam Yuchtman, 2012. "Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Robert L. Clark & Jennifer A. Maki & Melinda Sandler Morrill, 2013. "Can Simple Informational Nudges Increase Employee Participation in a 401(k) Plan?," NBER Working Papers 19591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1082-1095.
  9. Dean Karlan & Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan & Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda," Working Papers 1027, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  10. Ariel BenYishay & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Social Learning and Communication," NBER Working Papers 20139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Miller, Margaret & Reichelstein, Julia & Salas, Christian & Zia, Bilal, 2014. "Can you help someone become financially capable ? a meta-analysis of the literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6745, The World Bank.

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