NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Erin T. Bronchetti

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Working Papers and Chapters

March 2011When a Nudge Isn’t Enough: Defaults and Saving Among Low-Income Tax Filers
with Thomas S. Dee, David B. Huffman, Ellen Magenheim: w16887
Recent evidence suggests that the default options implicit in economic choices (e.g., 401(k) savings by white-collar workers) have extraordinarily large effects on decision-making. This study presents a field experiment that evaluates the effect of defaults on savings among a highly policy-relevant population: low-income tax filers. In the control condition, tax filers could choose (i.e., opt in) to receive some of their federal tax refund in the form of U.S. Savings Bonds. In the treatment condition, a fraction of the tax refund was automatically directed to U.S. Savings Bonds unless tax filers actively chose another allocation. We find that the opt-out default had no impact on savings behavior. Furthermore, our treatment estimate is sufficiently precise to reject effects as small as one-...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll papers and publicationsWorking Papers onlyWorking Papers with publication info

 
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