Evaluating Behavioral Policy Applications Using Administrative Data
Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
- Chair: Tatiana Homonoff, New York University
Messaging to Promote Workplace Retirement Savings
AbstractSimple interventions like changing the default or sending a short message can induce individuals to save more for retirement. However, messages that emphasize high savings rates may increase the amount that savings plan participants save while reducing the total number of plan participants. We study this possibility in the context of a field experiment designed to increase retirement savings by U.S. military service-members. We find that service-members who received a message emphasizing a low contribution rate were more likely to participate in a savings plan than were service-members whose message emphasized a high contribution rate, or no rate at all.
Medicare Letters To Curb Overprescribing
AbstractInappropriate prescribing is a rising threat to the health of Medicare beneficiaries and a drain on Medicare’s finances. In this study we used a randomized controlled trial approach to evaluate a series of low-cost, light-touch intervention aimed at reducing the inappropriate provision of prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D program. The first such trial addressed Schedule II controlled substances. Potential overprescribers were sent a letter explaining that their practice patterns were highly unlike those of their peers. Using rich administrative data, we were unable to detect an effect of these letters on prescribing. Subsequent trials build on this null result with alternative interventions.
Low-Income Nonfilers and Refundable Credits
AbstractThis project examines how reminders affect tax filing among lower-income nonfilers (individuals who did not appear on a filed tax return but had income reported by third parties to the Internal Revenue Service). We present novel data on this population and results from two randomized controlled trials. The results demonstrate that one-time reminders increase tax filing, both to claim tax refunds based in part on withholdings and Earned Income Tax Credit benefits, as well as to voluntarily pay balances owed to the IRS. However, these effects do not persist. Consistent with recency effects, individuals who owe a balance due appear more likely to recidivate into nonfiling than those who receive refunds. Follow-up reminders continue to increase tax filing, particularly among individuals who previously had to pay balances to the IRS instead of receive refunds.
- H0 - General