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Incorporating Employee Heterogeneity into Default Rules for Retirement Plan Selection

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  • Gopi Shah Goda
  • Colleen Flaherty Manchester

Abstract

We study the effect of incorporating heterogeneity into default rules by examining the choice between retirement plans at a firm that transitioned from a defined benefit (DB) to a defined contribution (DC) plan. The default plan for existing employees varied discontinuously depending on their age. Employing regression discontinuity techniques, we find that the default increased the probability of enrollment in the default plan by 60 percentage points. We develop a framework to solve for the optimal default rule analytically and numerically and find that considerable welfare gains are possible if defaults vary by observable characteristics.

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  • Gopi Shah Goda & Colleen Flaherty Manchester, 2013. "Incorporating Employee Heterogeneity into Default Rules for Retirement Plan Selection," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 198-235.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:48:y:2013:i:1:p:198-235
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gopi Shah Goda & Colleen Flaherty Manchester & Aaron Sojourner, 2012. "What Will My Account Really Be Worth? An Experiment on Exponential Growth Bias and Retirement Saving," NBER Working Papers 17927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dean Karlan, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda-Working Paper 346," Working Papers 346, Center for Global Development.
    3. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2014. "When Consumers Do Not Make an Active Decision: Dynamic Default Rules and their Equilibrium Effects," NBER Working Papers 20127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2011. "Behavioral economics perspectives on public sector pension plans," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, pages 315-336.
    5. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Farrell, Anne M. & Weisbenner, Scott J., 2016. "Decision-making approaches and the propensity to default: Evidence and implications," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 477-495.
    6. Gopi Shah Goda & Damon Jones & Colleen Flaherty Manchester, 2013. "Retirement Plan Type and Employee Mobility: The Role of Selection and Incentive Effects," NBER Working Papers 18902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:951-981 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Georg Weizsäcker & Martin G. Kocher & Felix Gelhaar & Simon Bartke, 2015. "Vielfalt in der ökonomischen Wissenschaft: Verhaltensökonomische Ansätze in der Diskussion," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 68(24), pages 03-12, December.
    9. Constantin Anghelache & Alexandru MANOLE & Marius POPOVICI & Emilia STANCIU, 2016. "Statistical analysis of the pensioners condition," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(12), pages 180-186, December.
    10. Itzik Fadlon & Jessica Laird & Torben Heien Nielsen, 2016. "Do Employer Pension Contributions Reflect Employee Preferences? Evidence from a Retirement Savings Reform in Denmark," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 196-216, July.
    11. Julie Agnew & Joshua Hurwitz, 2013. "Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems," NBER Working Papers 18907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jonathan Cribb & Carl Emmerson, 2016. "What happens when employers are obliged to nudge? Automatic enrolment and pension saving in the UK," IFS Working Papers W16/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. Goda, Gopi Shah & Manchester, Colleen Flaherty & Sojourner, Aaron J., 2014. "What will my account really be worth? Experimental evidence on how retirement income projections affect saving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 80-92.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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