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Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving

  • Dean Karlan

    ()

    (Economics Department, Yale University)

  • Margaret McConnell

    ()

    (Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University)

  • Sendhil Mullainathan

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University)

  • Jonathan Zinman

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Dartmouth College)

Registered author(s):

    We develop and test a simple model of limited attention in intertemporal choice. The model posits that individuals fully attend to consumption in all periods but fail to attend to some future lumpy expenditure opportunities. This asymmetry generates some predictions that overlap with models of present-bias. Our model also generates the unique predictions that reminders may increase saving, and that reminders will be more effective when they increase the salience of a specific expenditure. We find support for these predictions in three field experiments that randomly assign reminders to new savings account holders.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp988.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 988.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:988
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