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Small Cues Change Savings Choices

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Listed:
  • James J. Choi
  • Emily Haisley
  • Jennifer Kurkoski
  • Cade Massey

Abstract

In randomized field experiments, we embedded one- to two-sentence anchoring, goal-setting, or savings threshold cues in emails to employees about their 401(k) savings plan. We find that anchors increase or decrease 401(k) contribution rates by up to 1.9% of income. A high savings goal example raises contribution rates by up to 2.2% of income. Highlighting a higher savings threshold in the match incentive structure raises contributions by up to 1.5% of income relative to highlighting the lower threshold. Highlighting the maximum possible contribution rate raises contribution rates by up to 2.9% of income among low savers.

Suggested Citation

  • James J. Choi & Emily Haisley & Jennifer Kurkoski & Cade Massey, 2012. "Small Cues Change Savings Choices," NBER Working Papers 17843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17843 Note: AG AP PE
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_865 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:164-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Alberto Chong & Dean Karlan & Jeremy Shapiro & Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "(Ineffective) Messages to Encourage Recycling: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Peru," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 180-206.
    5. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Anchoring in Financial Decision-Making: Evidence from the Field," IZA Discussion Papers 10151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2013. "Who Uses the Roth 401(k), and How Do They Use It?," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 411-440 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Geiger, Martin & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2016. "When do fiscal consolidations lead to consumption booms? Lessons from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-20.
    8. Robert L. Clark & Jennifer A. Maki & Melinda Sandler Morrill, 2014. "Can Simple Informational Nudges Increase Employee Participation in a 401(k) Plan?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 677-701, January.
    9. 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, vol. 119(C), pages 80-92.
    10. Frydman, Cary & Rangel, Antonio, 2014. "Debiasing the disposition effect by reducing the saliency of information about a stock's purchase price," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 541-552.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles

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