IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving

  • Eric M. Engen
  • William G. Gale
  • John Karl Scholz

The authors evaluate research on how tax-based saving incentives (IRAs and 401(k)s) affect saving. Previous research overstates the impact of the incentives on saving by failing to account for several issues: households with saving incentives have stronger tastes for saving than others; saving incentives have interacted with debt, nonfinancial assets, financial markets, and pensions; and saving incentives represent pretax balances, whereas taxable accounts represent posttax balances. Accounting for these issues essentially eliminates the impact of saving incentives on saving. The authors conclude that little if any of the contributions to existing saving incentives have raised saving.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.4.113
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 10 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 113-138

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:4:p:113-38
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.4.113
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel M. Garrett, 1996. "The Determinants and Consequences of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Households," Working Papers 96007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1989. "Sources of IRA Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 3, pages 25-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & King, Mervyn, 1984. "Pension wealth and household savings: Tests of robustness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 115-139.
  4. Bernheim, B.D. & Scholz, J.K., 1992. "Private Saving and Public Policy," Working papers 9226, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. Martin S. Feldstein & Daniel R. Feenberg, 1983. "Alternative Tax Rules and Personal Saving Incentives: Microeconomic Data and Behavioral Simulations," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 173-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jane G. Gravelle, 1991. "Do Individual Retirement Accounts Increase Savings?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 133-148, Spring.
  7. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Individual response to a retirement saving program: results from U.S. panel data," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 235-254, September.
  8. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 1981. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Ann A. McDermed, 1993. "Pensions, Bonding, and Lifetime Jobs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 463-481.
  12. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1990. "Have IRAs Increased U.S. Saving? Evidence from Consumer Expenditure Surveys," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 661-98, August.
  13. Martin Feldstein, 1992. "The Effects of Tax-Based Saving Incentives on Government Revenue and National Saving," NBER Working Papers 4021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael A. Curme & William E. Even, 1995. "Pension Coverage and Borrowing Constraints," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 701-712.
  15. Bassett, William F. & Fleming, Michael J. & Rodrigues, Anthony P., 1998. "How Workers Use 401(k) Plans: The Participation, Contribution, and Withdrawal Decisions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 263-89, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Leslie E. Papke, 1999. "Are 401(k) Plans Replacing Other Employer-Provided Pensions? Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 346-368.
  18. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
  19. James M. Poterba, 1983. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-occupied Housing: An Asset Market Approach," Working papers 339, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  20. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1986. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Working Papers 1879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Gale, W.G. & Scholz, J.K., 1990. "Iras And Household Savings," Working papers 9009, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  22. Orazio P. Attanasio & Thomas C. DeLeire, 1994. "IRAs and Household Saving Revisited: Some New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Martin Feldstein, 1980. "Inflation, Portfolio Choice, and the Price of Land and Corporate Stock," NBER Working Papers 0526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1991. "National Saving and Economic Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern91-2, December.
  25. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
  26. David A. Wise & Steven F. Venti, 1993. "The Wealth of Cohorts: Retirement Saving and the Changing Assets of Older Americans," NBER Working Papers 4600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "Inflation, the Stock Market, and Owner-Occupied Housing," NBER Working Papers 0606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1996. "Rethinking Saving Incentives," Working Papers 96009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  29. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Effects of Tax-Based Saving Incentives On Saving and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 5759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1987. "The economic effects of social security : Toward a reconciliation of theory and measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 273-304, August.
  31. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1991. "The Saving Effect of Tax-deferred Retirement Accounts: Evidence from SIPP," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 103-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Ann A. McDermed, 1991. "Pensions, Bonding, and Lifetime Jobs," NBER Working Papers 3688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1992. "Government Policy and Personal Retirement Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 1-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Chang, Angela E., 1996. "Tax Policy, Lump-Sum Pension Distributions, and Household Saving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 235-49, June.
  35. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1986. "Tax-Deferred Accounts, Constrained Choice and Estimation of Individual Saving," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 579-601, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:4:p:113-38. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.