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Do Economic Policymakers Practice what they Preach? The Case of Pension Decisions

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  • Momi Dahan
  • Tehila Kogut
  • Moshe Shalem

Abstract

This paper examines whether policymakers, economists at the Israeli Finance Ministry, act in their personal pension decisions in accordance with the rational behaviour assumptions underlying the pension policies they advance. We find that while economists' decisions regarding three other important decisions such as buying an apartment, a car and a large appliance, are largely in line with rational models, pension decisions deviate significantly from these models. A large share of these policymakers hardly search for relevant information regarding their chosen pension fund, do not know the most necessary information and consider only one option before choosing the preferred pension fund. A significant difference was found between specialized policymakers (economists in the Pension Division) and general policymakers (economists in all other Divisions) showing that specialized policymakers are significantly less biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Momi Dahan & Tehila Kogut & Moshe Shalem, 2009. "Do Economic Policymakers Practice what they Preach? The Case of Pension Decisions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2783, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2783
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2783.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shanteau, James, 1992. "Competence in experts: The role of task characteristics," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 252-266, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Tehila Kogut & Momi Dahan, 2012. "Do you look forward to retirement? Motivational biases in pension decisions," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(3), pages 282-291, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
    6. Bettman, James R & Sujan, Mita, 1987. " Effects of Framing on Evaluation of Comparable and Noncomparable Alternatives by Expert and Novice Consumers," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 141-154, September.
    7. T.K. Das, 1999. "Cognitive Biases and Strategic Decision Processes: An Integrative Perspective," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(6), pages 757-778, November.
    8. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Utkus, Stephen P. (ed.), 2004. "Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons from Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199273393.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    policymaking; pension decisions; expert; rational choice;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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