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Savings Incentives for Low- and Moderate-Income Families in the United States: Why is the Saver's Credit Not More Effective?

Author

Listed:
  • Esther Duflo
  • William Gale
  • Jeffrey Liebman
  • Peter Orszag
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

This paper uses data from the largest tax preparer in the United States to estimate the impact of the "saver's credit," a US federal program providing financial incentives to encourage retirement savings, on the decision to contribute to an IRA. It finds significant, but very modest, effects. This is contrasted with results from a field experiment showing much larger impacts of clearly presented matching incentives. Various explanations are discussed for why the saver's credit is not more effective. (JEL: H00, H31, C93, D14) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Duflo & William Gale & Jeffrey Liebman & Peter Orszag & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Savings Incentives for Low- and Moderate-Income Families in the United States: Why is the Saver's Credit Not More Effective?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 647-661, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:2-3:p:647-661
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mason, Lisa Reyes & Nam, Yunju & Clancy, Margaret & Kim, Youngmi & Loke, Vernon, 2010. "Child Development Accounts and saving for children's future: Do financial incentives matter?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1570-1576, November.
    2. Corneo, Giacomo & Keese, Matthias & Schröder, Carsten, 2010. "The Effect of Saving Subsidies on Household Saving – Evidence from Germanys," Ruhr Economic Papers 170, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Atalay, Kadir & Bakhtiar, Fayzan & Cheung, Stephen & Slonim, Robert, 2014. "Savings and prize-linked savings accounts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 86-106.
    4. Balazs Kiraly & Andras Simonovits, 2016. "Saving and taxation in a voluntary pension system: Toward an agent-based model," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1606, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    5. World Bank, 2009. "Banking the Poor : Measuring Banking Access in 54 Economies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13804.
    6. Ramnath, Shanthi, 2013. "Taxpayers' responses to tax-based incentives for retirement savings: Evidence from the Saver's Credit notch," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 77-93.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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