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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 3 No. 4 (November 2011)

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Just Keep My Money! Supporting Tax-Time Savings with US Savings Bonds

Article Citation

Tufano, Peter. 2011. "Just Keep My Money! Supporting Tax-Time Savings with US Savings Bonds." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(4): 172-200.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.4.172

Abstract

This paper reports the results of a 2007 experiment testing whether specific process simplification can foster increased take-up rates for savings products, particularly by low-to-moderate income (LMI) households. Tax refund recipients at certain H&R Block tax preparation offices were given the option to purchase US Savings Bonds with their tax refunds, augmenting the tax-site savings options offered by H&R Block. Those who received the savings bond offer were substantially more likely to purchase a savings product on-site than those who didn't, even after controlling for client demographics. Much of this take-up was directed at intra-family gifting, or asset building on behalf of children. (JEL D14, H24)

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Authors

Tufano, Peter (U Oxford)

JEL Classifications

D14: Personal Finance
H24: Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes

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