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Do Savings Increase in Response to Salient Information about Retirement and Expected Pensions?

Author

Listed:
  • Mathias Dolls
  • Philipp Doerrenberg
  • Andreas Peichl
  • Holger Stichnoth

Abstract

How can retirement savings be increased? We explore a unique policy change in the context of the German pension system to study this question. As of 2004, the German pension authority started to send out annual letters providing detailed and comprehensible information about the pension system and individual expected pension payments. This reform did not change the level of pensions, but only manipulated the knowledge about and salience of expected pension payments. Using German tax return data, we exploit two discontinuities in the age cutoffs of receiving such a letter to study their effects on private retirement savings. Our results show that the letters increase private retirement savings. The effects are fairly sizable and persistent over several years. We further show that the letter increases labor earnings, and that the increase in savings partly crowds out charitable donations. Moreover, we present evidence suggesting that both information and salience drive the savings effect. Our paper adds to a recent literature showing that policies that go beyond the traditional neoclassical reasoning can be powerful to increase savings rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathias Dolls & Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl & Holger Stichnoth, 2016. "Do Savings Increase in Response to Salient Information about Retirement and Expected Pensions?," NBER Working Papers 22684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22684
    Note: AG LS PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giesecke, Matthias & Yang, Guanzhong, 2018. "Are financial retirement incentives more effective if pension knowledge is high?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 278-315, July.
    2. Blaufus, Kay & Milde, Michael, 2018. "Learning to save tax-efficiently: Tax misperceptions and the effect of informational tax nudges on retirement savings," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 225, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    3. Kochskämper, Susanna, 2018. "Stellungnahme zum Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung sowie dem Antrag der Abgeordneten Pia Zimmermann, Susanne Ferschl, Matthias W. Birkwald, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion DIE LINKE (BT-Drucks," IW-Reports 46/2018, Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) / German Economic Institute.
    4. Crusius, Tobias L. & von Werder, Marten, 2017. "The affluency to quit: How inheritances affect retirement plannings," Discussion Papers 2017/24, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    5. Dorothee Ihle, 2017. "Quantile Treatment Effects of Riester Participation on Wealth," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 954, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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