IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v91y2007i10p1920-1943.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Employer matching and 401(k) saving: Evidence from the health and retirement study

Author

Listed:
  • Engelhardt, Gary V.
  • Kumar, Anil

Abstract

Employer matching of employee 401(k) contributions can provide a powerful incentive to save for retirement. We examine the effect of matching on 401(k) saving accounting for non-linearities in the intertemporal budget set. We use detailed administrative contribution, earnings, and pension plan data from the Health and Retirement Study and estimate that the elasticity of contributions with respect to matching is 0.15-0.27 overall, with sixty percent of this effect on the participation margin and the remaining forty percent on the intensive margin. The estimated after-tax cross-price elasticity of 401(k) contributions with respect to IRA saving is -0.60, which suggests 401(k)s and IRAs are substitutes in tax-deferred saving. We find no evidence of endogenous worker sorting based on the discount rate to plans that offer matching.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Engelhardt, Gary V. & Kumar, Anil, 2007. "Employer matching and 401(k) saving: Evidence from the health and retirement study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1920-1943, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:91:y:2007:i:10:p:1920-1943
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(07)00031-X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2004. "Plan Design and 401(K) Savings Outcomes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 275-298, June.
    3. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 164-187, February.
    4. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1994. "Consumer Demand and the Life-Cycle Allocation of Household Expenditures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80.
    5. John Y. Campbell & João F. Cocco, 2003. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1449-1494.
    6. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M. & Maki, Dean M., 2001. "Education and saving:: The long-term effects of high school financial curriculum mandates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 435-465, June.
    7. Esther Duflo & William Gale & Jeffrey Liebman & Peter Orszag & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "Saving Incentives for Low- and Middle-Income Families: Evidence from a Field Experiment with H&R Block," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1311-1346.
    8. 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.
    9. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    10. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    11. Richard W. Blundell & James L. Powell, 2004. "Endogeneity in Semiparametric Binary Response Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 655-679.
    12. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-1157, December.
    13. Johnson, Richard W & Sambamoorthi, Usha & Crystal, Stephen, 2000. "Pension Wealth at Midlife: Comparing Self-Reports with Provider Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 59-83, March.
    14. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 1999. "Estimating Life Cycle Labor Supply Tax Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 326-359, April.
    15. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2005. "Passive Decisions and Potent Defaults," NBER Chapters,in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 59-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 2009. "The Effects Of Financial Education In The Workplace: Evidence From A Survey Of Employers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(4), pages 605-624, October.
    17. Shoven, John B. & Sialm, Clemens, 2004. "Asset location in tax-deferred and conventional savings accounts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 23-38, January.
    18. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    19. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-544, September.
    20. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    21. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53540.
    22. 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;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(2), pages 263-289, June.
    23. Dammon, Robert M & Spatt, Chester S & Zhang, Harold H, 2001. "Optimal Consumption and Investment with Capital Gains Taxes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 583-616.
    24. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Liang, Nellie & Weisbenner, Scott, 2006. "401(k) matching contributions in company stock: Costs and benefits for firms and workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1315-1346, August.
    25. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 73-90, Fall.
    26. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "Limited Asset Market Participation and the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," NBER Working Papers 8896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    28. Amromin, Gene & Huang, Jennifer & Sialm, Clemens, 2007. "The tradeoff between mortgage prepayments and tax-deferred retirement savings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 2014-2040, November.
    29. Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1999. "Workers' knowledge of their pension coverage: a reevaluation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    30. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
    31. Soren Blomquist & Whitney Newey, 2002. "Nonparametric Estimation with Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2455-2480, November.
    32. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
    33. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Utkus, Stephen P. & Yang, Tongxuan (Stella), 2007. "Turning Workers Into Savers? Incentives, Liquidity, and Choice in 401(K) Plan Design," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 60(3), pages 469-489, September.
    34. Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2007. "Employer Matching and 401(k) Saving: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Chapters,in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 1920-1943 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Douglas W. Elmendorf, "undated". "The Effect of Interest-Rate Changes on Household Saving and Consumption: A Survey," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1996-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    36. John B. Shoven, 1999. "The Location and Allocation of Assets in Pension and Conventional Savings Accounts," NBER Working Papers 7007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Cunningham, Christopher R. & Engelhardt, Gary V., 2002. "Federal Tax Policy, Employer Matching, and 401(K) Saving: Evidence From HRS W-2 Records," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(3), pages 617-645, September.
    38. Tullio Jappelli & Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Nicholas S. Souleles, 1998. "Testing For Liquidity Constraints In Euler Equations With Complementary Data Sources," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 251-262, May.
    39. Julie Agnew & Pierluigi Balduzzi & Annika Sundén, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Trading in a Large 401(k) Plan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 193-215, March.
    40. repec:fth:pennfi:69 is not listed on IDEAS
    41. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
    42. Leslie E. Papke, 1995. "Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence from Plan Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 311-325.
    43. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    44. Vella, F, 1992. "Simple Tests for Sample Selection Bias in Censored and Discrete Choice Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(4), pages 413-421, Oct.-Dec..
    45. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
    46. Mitchell, Olivia S, 1988. "Worker Knowledge of Pension Provisions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 21-39, January.
    47. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "Limited Asset Market Participation and the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 825-853, August.
    48. Robert M. Dammon & Chester S. Spatt & Harold H. Zhang, 2004. "Optimal Asset Location and Allocation with Taxable and Tax-Deferred Investing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 999-1037, June.
    49. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Optimal Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 180-185, May.
    50. Papke, Leslie E. & Poterba, James M., 1995. "Survey evidence on employer match rates and employee saving behavior in 401(k) plans," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 313-317, September.
    51. Newey, Whitney K., 1987. "Efficient estimation of limited dependent variable models with endogenous explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 231-250, November.
    52. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    53. Olivia S. Mitchell & Jan Olson & Thomas Steinmeier, "undated". "Construction of the Earnings and Benefits File (EBF) for Use with the Health and Retirement Survey," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-19, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    54. James M. Poterba & John B. Shoven & Clemens Sialm, 2000. "Asset Location for Retirement Savers," NBER Working Papers 7991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    55. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
    56. McDonald, John F & Moffitt, Robert A, 1980. "The Uses of Tobit Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 318-321, May.
    57. repec:crr:crrwps:2000-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    58. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    59. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
    60. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    61. 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.
    62. Muellbauer, John, 1976. "Community Preferences and the Representative Consumer," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 979-999, September.
    63. Engelhardt, Gary V., 2002. "Pre-Retirement Lump-Sum Pension Distributions and Retirement Income Security: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 55(4), pages 665-685, December.
    64. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58.
    65. Newey, Whitney K., 1987. "Specification tests for distributional assumptions in the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 125-145.
    66. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    67. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "$100 Bills on the Sidewalk: Suboptimal Saving in 401(k) Plans," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000649, UCLA Department of Economics.
    68. Hausman, Jerry A, 1985. "The Econometrics of Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1255-1282, November.
    69. 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.
    70. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-1130, December.
    71. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Kumar, Anil, 2005. "Social security personal-account participation with government matching," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 155-179, July.
    72. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-90-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    73. Blomquist, Sören & Newey, Whitney, 1997. "Nonparametric Estimation of Labor Supply Functions Generated by Piece Wise Linear Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series 1997:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    74. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-543, May.
    75. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
    76. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Andrew A. Samwick & Thomas L. Steinmeier, "undated". "Pension and Social Security Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-3, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    77. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The Econometrics of Kinked Budget Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 119-139, Spring.
    78. Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Utkus, 2002. "The Role of Company Stock in Defined Contribution Plans," NBER Working Papers 9250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    79. Joulfaian, David & Richardson, David, 2001. "Who Takes Advantage of Tax-Deferred Savings Programs? Evidence from Federal Income Tax Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 3), pages 669-88, September.
    80. James M. Poterba, 2003. "Employer Stock and 401(k) Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 398-404, May.
    81. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    82. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    83. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-1113, December.
    84. Newey, Whitney K., 1986. "Linear instrumental variable estimation of limited dependent variable models with endogenous explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 127-141, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:91:y:2007:i:10:p:1920-1943. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.