The Downside of Defaults

Jeffrey R. Brown, Anne M. Farrell, Scott J. Weisbenner

NBER Retirement Research Center Paper No. NB 11-01
Issued in September 2011

---- Acknowledgements -----

The authors are grateful to Chichun Fang for outstanding research assistance. This research would not have been possible without the expert, enthusiastic assistance of the State Universities Retirement System staff, especially Dan Slack and Doug Steele, and the University of Illinois Survey Research Lab, especially Sowmya Anand and her colleagues. We thank John Beshears, Bruce Carlin, James Choi, and workshop participants at the Social Security Administration for feedback on earlier versions of this paper, and Beth Birnschein, Karen Clark, Kari Cooperider, Susan Elliott, Judy Leeper, Linda Smith, Maureen Verchota and Carol Young for testing the survey instrument. This research was supported by the U.S. Social Security Administration through grant #5 RRC08098400-03-00 to the National Bureau of Economic Research as part of the SSA Retirement Research Consortium. Brown is a Trustee for TIAA and has also received compensation as a speaker, author and consultant from a number of financial institutions that are involved in retirement plan design. The findings and conclusions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of SSA, any agency of the Federal Government, or the NBER.

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