Five Steps to Planning Success. Experimental Evidence from U.S. Households
While financial knowledge has been linked to improved financial behavior, there is little consensus on the value of financial education, in part because rigorous evaluation of various programs has yielded mixed results. However, given the heterogeneity of financial education programs in the literature, focusing on "generic" financial education can be inappropriate and even misleading. Lusardi (2009) and others argue that pedagogy and delivery matter significantly. In this paper, we design and field a low-cost, easily-replicable financial education program called "Five Steps," covering five basic financial planning concepts that relate to retirement. We conduct a field experiment to evaluate the overall impact of "Five Steps" on a probability sample of the American population. In different treatment arms, we quantify the relative impact of delivering the program through video and narrative formats. Our results show that short videos and narratives (each takes about three minutes) have sizable short-run effects on objective measures of respondent knowledge. Moreover, keeping informational content relatively constant, format has significant effects on other psychological levers of behavioral change: effects on motivation and self-efficacy are significantly higher when videos are used, which ultimately influences knowledge acquisition. Follow-up tests of respondents' knowledge approximately eight months after the interventions suggest that between one-quarter and one-third of the knowledge gains and about one-fifth of the self-efficacy gains persist. Thus, this simple program has effects both in the short run and medium run.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2014|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Aileen Heinberg & Angela Hung & Arie Kapteyn & Annamaria Lusardi & Anya Savikhin Samek & Joanne Yoong, 2014. "Five steps to planning success: experimental evidence from US households," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 697-724.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 2009.
"The Effects Of Financial Education In The Workplace: Evidence From A Survey Of Employers,"
Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(4), pages 605-624, October.
- Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Effects of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Employers," Working Papers 96011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Effects of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Employers," NBER Working Papers 5655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Congdon, William J. & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2009.
"Behavioral Economics and Tax Policy,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 62(3), pages 375-86, September.
- Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
- Angela A. Hung & Erik Meijer & Kata Mihaly & Joanne Yoong, 2009. "Building Up, Spending Down: Financial Literacy, Retirement Savings Management, and Decumulation," Working Papers 712, RAND Corporation.
- Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
- Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014.
"The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 18952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," CeRP Working Papers 134, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel M. Garrett & Dean M. Maki, 1997.
"Education and Saving: The Long-Term Effects of High School Financial Curriculum Mandates,"
NBER Working Papers
6085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M. & Maki, Dean M., 2001. "Education and saving:: The long-term effects of high school financial curriculum mandates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 435-465, June.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel M. Garrett & Dean M. Maki, 1997. "Education and Saving: The Long-Term Effects of High School Financial Curriculum Mandates," Working Papers 97012, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder & Robert Willis, 2008. "Preparation for Retirement, Financial Literacy and Cognitive Resources," Working Papers wp190, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Kristina Shampanier & Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2007. "Zero as a Special Price: The True Value of Free Products," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(6), pages 742-757, 11-12.
- Angela A. Hung & Andrew M. Parker & Joanne K. Yoong, 2009. "Defining and Measuring Financial Literacy," Working Papers 708, RAND Corporation.
- 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.
- Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles D., 2013. "Discounting financial literacy: Time preferences and participation in financial education programs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 159-174.
- Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20203. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.