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Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives

  • R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Jonathan S. Skinner

In this paper, we argue that there is more to be learned from recent research on the effectiveness of targeted saving incentives than is suggested by the wide variation in empirical estimates. First, we conclude that characterizations of saving appear to stimulate moderate amounts of new saving. Second, we suggest a cost-benefit approach to ask: What is the incremental gain in capital accumulation per dollar of foregone revenue? We find that for quite conservative measures of the saving impacts of IRAs or 401(k)s, the incremental gains in capital accumulation per dollar of lost revenue are large

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5686.

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Date of creation: Jul 1996
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 73-90, Fall 1996.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5686
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  1. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1988. "The Determinants of IRA Contributions and the Effect of Limit Changes," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 9-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1986. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Working Papers 1879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "The Effects of Tax-Based Saving Incentives on Government Revenue and National Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 475-494.
  4. Gale, William G & Scholz, John Karl, 1994. "IRAs and Household Saving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1233-60, December.
  5. David A. Wise & Steven F. Venti, 1993. "The Wealth of Cohorts: Retirement Saving and the Changing Assets of Older Americans," NBER Working Papers 4600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Martin S. Feldstein & Daniel R. Feenberg, 1983. "Alternative Tax Rules and Personal Saving Incentives: Microeconomic Data and Behavioral Simulations," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 173-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Thaler, Richard H, 1994. "Psychology and Savings Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 186-92, May.
  8. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1994. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 105-142 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kevin A. Hassett, 1999. "Tax Policy and Investment," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53049, November.
  10. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1991. "National Saving and Economic Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern91-2, September.
  11. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "Have IRAs Increased U. S. Saving?: Evidence from Consumer Expenditure Surveys," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 661-698.
  12. N/A, 1985. "General Policy," India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, Indian Council of World Affairs, vol. 41(1), pages 74-79, January.
  13. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-46, September.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1996. "Rethinking Saving Incentives," Working Papers 96009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  15. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1991. "The Saving Effect of Tax-deferred Retirement Accounts: Evidence from SIPP," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 103-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
  17. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  18. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1994. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S29-51, April.
  20. Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1989. "Sources of IRA Saving," NBER Working Papers 2845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1989. "Sources of IRA Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 3, pages 25-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. N/A, 1985. "General Policy," India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, Indian Council of World Affairs, vol. 41(1), pages 112-117, January.
  22. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton & John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1985. "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ball85-1, September.
  23. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  24. King, R.G. & Rebelo, S., 1988. "Public Policy And Economic Growth: Developing Neoclassical Implications," RCER Working Papers 225, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  25. Orazio P. Attanasio & Thomas C. DeLeire, 1994. "IRAs and Household Saving Revisited: Some New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Posner, Richard A., 1995. "Aging and Old Age," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226675664.
  27. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1986. "Tax-Deferred Accounts, Constrained Choice and Estimation of Individual Saving," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 579-601.
  28. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1996. "Saving and financial planning: some findings from a focus group," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-1, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  29. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, September.
  30. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1992. "Government Policy and Personal Retirement Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 1-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
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