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Increasing the take-up of the housing allowance among Swedish pensioners: a field experiment

Per Engström (), Eskil Forsell (), Johannes Hagen () and Arnaldur Stefánsson ()
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Per Engström: Uppsala University
Eskil Forsell: Stockholm School of Economics
Johannes Hagen: Jönköping University
Arnaldur Stefánsson: Uppsala University

International Tax and Public Finance, 2019, vol. 26, issue 6, 1353-1382

Abstract: Abstract Using a randomized field experiment in the Swedish pension system, we investigate whether receiving an information letter affects the take-up rate of the housing allowance for pensioners. We also investigate whether the framing of the information letter affects take-up. The results show that simple information letters had a significant effect on the application rate and subsequent take-up rate: The baseline application rate in the targeted control population was only 1.4%, while the corresponding rates in the different treatment groups were between 9.9 and 12.1%. However, while the applications in the control group were accepted in almost 3 out of 4 cases, up to 50% of the applications in the treatment group were declined. The lower conditional acceptance rate in the treatment group seems to be largely driven by wealth, which the Pensions Agency cannot observe prior to submission. Information campaigns aimed at increasing benefit take-up therefore need careful design in situations with imperfect targeting.

Keywords: Benefit take-up; RCT; Nudge (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H24 H55 C93 D90 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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