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Nudging Timely Wage Reporting: Field Experimental Evidence from the United States Social Supplementary Income Program

Author

Listed:
  • C. Yiwei Zhang
  • Jeffrey Hemmeter
  • Judd B. Kessler
  • Robert D. Metcalfe
  • Robert Weathers

Abstract

We study a large-scale (n=50,000) natural field experiment implemented by the U.S. Social Security Administration that was aimed at increasing the timely and accurate self-reporting of wages by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Sending a letter reminding SSI recipients of their wage reporting responsibilities significantly increased both the likelihood of reporting any earnings and the total amount of earnings reported, though this effect decays slightly over time. However, the specific letter content—providing social information or highlighting the salience of penalties—had no systematic effect. We develop a conservative estimate that the letters generated roughly $5.91 in savings on average per dollar spent for the U.S. government.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Yiwei Zhang & Jeffrey Hemmeter & Judd B. Kessler & Robert D. Metcalfe & Robert Weathers, 2020. "Nudging Timely Wage Reporting: Field Experimental Evidence from the United States Social Supplementary Income Program," NBER Working Papers 27875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27875
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher J. O'Leary & Dallas Oberlee & Gabrielle Pepin, 2020. "Nudges to Increase Completion of Welfare Applications: Experimental Evidence from Michigan," Upjohn Working Papers 20-336, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. David Wittenburg & Gina Livermore, "undated". "Youth Transition," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 580ad612600842de83948d7ab, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. Eugen Dimant & Shaul Shalvi, 2022. "Meta-Nudging Honesty: Past, Present, and Future of the Research Frontier," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 163, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    4. Denise Hoffman & Priyanka Anand & John Jones & Serge Lukashanets, "undated". "How Do Work-Related Overpayments Affect the Earnings of Overpaid Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries?," Mathematica Policy Research Reports bc1e2ba7f8644c75a19020f06, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Moffitt, Robert & Gregory, Jesse, 2022. "The Return to Work in Disablity Programs: What Has Been Learned and Next Steps," Economics Working Paper Archive 66933, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    6. Priyanka Anand & Denise Hoffman & John T. Jones & Siarhei Lukashanets, 2022. "Labor supply response to overpayment notifications: Evidence from Social Security Disability Insurance," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 304-322, April.
    7. Denise Hoffman & Monica Farid & Serge Lukashanets & Michael Anderson & John T. Jones, "undated". "Work Overpayments Among New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2ab65f780a7247ec8d8a61ca8, Mathematica Policy Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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