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How Much to Save? Decision Costs and Retirement Plan Participation

Jacob Goldin, Tatiana Homonoff, Richard Patterson () and William Skimmyhorn

No 27575, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Deciding how much to save for retirement can be complicated. Drawing on a field experiment conducted with the Department of Defense, we study whether such complexity depresses participation in an employer-sponsored retirement saving plan. We find that simplifying one dimension of the enrollment decision, by highlighting a potential rate at which non-participants might contribute, increases participation in the plan. Similar communications that did not include a highlighted rate yield smaller effects. The results highlight how reducing complexity on the intensive margin of a decision (how much to contribute) can affect extensive margin behavior (whether to contribute at all) in a setting of policy interest.

JEL-codes: D14 G41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-exp
Note: AG PE
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Published as Jacob Goldin & Tatiana Homonoff & Richard Patterson & William Skimmyhorn, 2020. "How much to save? Decision costs and retirement plan participation," Journal of Public Economics, vol 191.

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