Saving Incentives for Low- and Middle-Income Families: Evidence from a Field Experiment with H&R Block
We analyze a randomized experiment in which 14,000 tax filers in H&R Block offices in St. Louis received matches of zero, 20 percent, or 50 percent of IRA contributions. Take-up rates were 3 percent, 8 percent, and 14 percent, respectively. Among contributors, contributions, excluding the match, averaged $765 in the control group and $1100 in the match groups. Taxpayer responses to similar incentives in the Saver's Credit are much smaller. Taxpayers did not game the experiment by receiving a match and strategically withdrawing funds. Tax professionals significantly influenced contribution choices. These results suggest that both incentives and information affect behavior. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Volume (Year): 121 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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