IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/20949.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Decision-Making Approaches and the Propensity to Default: Evidence and Implications

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Anne M. Farrell
  • Scott J. Weisbenner

Abstract

This paper examines heterogeneity in the responsiveness to default options in a large state retirement plan, focusing on individuals’ decision-making approaches as well as their economic and demographic characteristics. Using a survey of plan participants, we find that procrastination and the need for cognitive closure are important determinants of the likelihood of default. We also explore an important implication of defaulting – individuals who default are significantly more likely to subsequently express a desire to enroll in a different plan. The desire to change plans is also correlated with numerous economic and decision-making characteristics, including procrastination.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey R. Brown & Anne M. Farrell & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2015. "Decision-Making Approaches and the Propensity to Default: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 20949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20949
    Note: AG PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20949.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abadie, Alberto & Gay, Sebastien, 2006. "The impact of presumed consent legislation on cadaveric organ donation: A cross-country study," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 599-620, July.
    2. Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland M?ller & Dan Silverman, 2014. "Who Is (More) Rational?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1518-1550, June.
    3. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Jeffrey R. Brown & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2009. "Who Chooses Defined Contribution Plans?," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 131-161 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market: A Survey of the Literature," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 417-438, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Dichev, Ilia D. & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Rajgopal, Shiva, 2013. "Earnings quality: Evidence from the field," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 1-33.
    11. Gabriel D. Carroll & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1639-1674.
    12. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2001. "The theory and practice of corporate finance: evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 187-243, May.
    16. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    17. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Choices, and the Path of Least Resistance," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 67-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
    19. Hoffmann, Arvid O.I. & Post, Thomas & Pennings, Joost M.E., 2013. "Individual investor perceptions and behavior during the financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 60-74.
    20. Heber Farnsworth & Jonathan Taylor, 2006. "Evidence On The Compensation Of Portfolio Managers," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 29(3), pages 305-324, September.
    21. Glaeser, Edward L., 2006. "Paternalism and Psychology," Working Paper Series rwp06-006, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    22. Johnson, Eric J & Hershey, John & Meszaros, Jacqueline & Kunreuther, Howard, 1993. "Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
    23. Alon Brav & John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Roni Michaely, 2008. "Managerial Response to the May 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 37(4), pages 611-624, December.
    24. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "Saving or Retirement on the Path of Least Resistance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000606, UCLA Department of Economics.
    25. Daniel Dorn & Paul Sengmueller, 2009. "Trading as Entertainment?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(4), pages 591-603, April.
    26. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
    27. Wood, Robert E., 1986. "Task complexity: Definition of the construct," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 60-82, February.
    28. Bruce Ian Carlin & Simon Gervais & Gustavo Manso, 2013. "Libertarian Paternalism, Information Production, and Financial Decision Making," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(9), pages 2204-2228.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:546-566 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:10:p:2868-2901 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Joshua Blumenstock & Michael Callen & Tarek Ghani, 2018. "Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(10), pages 2868-2901, October.
    4. Clark, Robert L. & Hanson, Emma & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2016. "Lessons for public pensions from Utah's move to pension choice," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 285-310, July.
    5. Michael P. Keane & Susan Thorp, 2016. "Complex Decision Making: The Roles of Cognitive Limitations, Cognitive Decline and Ageing," Economics Papers 2016-W10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    6. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_661 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Robert Dur & Dimitry Fleming & Marten van Garderen & Max van Lent, 2019. "A Social Norm Nudge to Save More: A Field Experiment at a Retail Bank," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-063/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Buchholtz, Sonia & Gaska, Jan & Góra, Marek, 2018. "Pension Strategies of Workers in a Country Getting Old before Getting Rich," IZA Discussion Papers 11830, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Robert L. Clark & Robert G. Hammond & Christelle Khalaf & Melinda Sandler Morrill, 2017. "Planning for Retirement? The Importance of Time Preferences," NBER Working Papers 23501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20949. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.