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Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence from a Field Experiment

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  • Jeffrey B. Liebman
  • Erzo F. P. Luttmer

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a randomized field experiment that provided information about key Social Security features to older workers. The experiment was designed to examine whether it is possible to affect individual behavior using a relatively inexpensive informational intervention about the provisions of a public program and to explore the mechanisms underlying the behavior change. We find that our relatively mild intervention (sending an informational brochure and an invitation to a web-tutorial) increased labor force participation one year later by 4 percentage points relative to the control group mean of 74 percent. (JEL C93, D12, H55)

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  • Jeffrey B. Liebman & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2015. "Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 275-299, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:275-99
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20120081
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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