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Matching Contributions and Savings Outcomes: A Behavioral Economics Perspective

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  • Brigitte C. Madrian

Abstract

Including a matching contribution increases savings plan participation and contributions, although the impact is less significant than the impact of nonfinancial approaches. Conditional on participation, a higher match rate has only a small effect on savings plan contributions. In contrast, the match threshold has a substantial impact, probably because it serves as a natural reference point when individuals are deciding how much to save and may be viewed as advice from the savings program sponsor on how much to save. Other behavioral approaches to changing savings plan outcomes—including automatic enrollment, simplification, planning aids, reminders, and commitment features—potentially have a much greater impact on savings outcomes than do financial incentives, often at a much lower cost.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18220.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18220

Note: AG EFG LS PE
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  1. Esther Duflo & William Gale & Jeffrey Liebman & Peter Orszag & Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Saving Incentives for Low- and Middle-Income Families: Evidence from a Field Experiment with H&R Block," NBER Working Papers 11680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2004. "Employer Matching and 401(k) Saving: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-18, Center for Retirement Research.
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  7. Robinson, Jonathan & Dupas, Pascaline, 2009. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt34w0w53t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. Nava Ashraf & Dean S. Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2005. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," Working Papers 917, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  9. Beshears, John & Laibson, David I. & Madrian, Brigitte C. & Choi, James J., 2012. "Simplification and Saving," Scholarly Articles 9925399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Brune, Lasse & Gine, Xavier & Goldberg, Jessica & Yang, Dean, 2011. "Commitments to save : a field experiment in rural Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5748, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul & Andrew Shephard, 2012. "Comparing Charitable Fundraising Schemes: Evidence from a Field Experiment and a Structural Model," Working Papers 1381, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  2. Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran & Shephard, Andrew, 2013. "Comparing Charitable Fundraising Schemes: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment and a Structural Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 9648, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Soren Leth-Petersen & Torben Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2012. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowdout in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," NBER Working Papers 18565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Renuka Sane & Susan Thomas, 2013. "In search of inclusion: informal sector participation in a voluntary, defined contribution pension system," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2013-022, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  5. Ramnath, Shanthi, 2013. "Taxpayers' responses to tax-based incentives for retirement savings: Evidence from the Saver's Credit notch," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 77-93.

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