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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 1 No. 1 (February 2009)

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Details Matter: The Impact of Presentation and Information on the Take-Up of Financial Incentives for Retirement Saving

Article Citation

Saez, Emmanuel. 2009. "Details Matter: The Impact of Presentation and Information on the Take-Up of Financial Incentives for Retirement Saving." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 1(1): 204-28.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.1.1.204

Abstract

We examine the effects of presentation and information on the take-up of financial subsidies for retirement saving in a large randomized experiment carried out with H&R Block. The subsidies raise take-up and contributions with larger effects when the subsidy is characterized as a matching contribution rather than an equivalent-value tax credit (or cash back), and when filers are informed before the tax season about the subsidy. The results imply that both pure incentives and the presentation of those incentives affect consumer choices. (JEL D14, H24, H31, J26)

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Authors

Saez, Emmanuel (U CA, Berkeley)

JEL Classifications

D14: Personal Finance
H24: Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes
H31: Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household
J26: Retirement; Retirement Policies

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