NBER Working Papers by Aaron Sojourner

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Working Papers

August 2015The Role of Time Preferences and Exponential-Growth Bias in Retirement Savings
with Gopi Shah Goda, Matthew R. Levy, Colleen Flaherty Manchester, Joshua Tasoff: w21482
There is considerable variation in retirement savings within income, age, and educational categories. Using a broad sample of the U.S. population, we elicit time preference parameters from a quasi-hyperbolic discounting model, and perceptions of exponential growth. We find that present bias (PB), the tendency to value utility in the present over the future in a dynamically inconsistent way, and exponential-growth bias (EGB), the tendency to neglect compounding, are prevalent and distinct latent variables. PB, EGB, and the long-run discount factor are all highly significant in predicting retirement savings, even while controlling for measures of IQ and general financial literacy as well as a rich set of demographic controls. We find that lack of self-awareness of these biases has an additio...
March 2012What Will My Account Really Be Worth? An Experiment on Exponential Growth Bias and Retirement Saving
with Gopi Shah Goda, Colleen Flaherty Manchester: w17927
Recent findings on limited financial literacy and exponential growth bias suggest saving decisions may not be optimal because such decisions require an accurate understanding of how current contributions can translate into income in retirement. This study uses a large-scale field experiment to measure how a low-cost, direct-mail intervention designed to inform subjects about this relationship affects their saving behavior. Using administrative data prior to and following the intervention, we measure its effect on participation and the level of contributions in retirement saving accounts. Those sent income projections along with enrollment information were more likely to change contribution levels and increase annual contributions relative to the control group. Among those who made a change...
January 2012Impacts of Unionization on Employment, Product Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence From Nursing Homes
with Robert J. Town, David C. Grabowski, Michelle M. Chen: w17733
This paper studies the effects of nursing home unionization on numerous labor, establishment, and consumer outcomes using a regression discontinuity design. We find negative effects of unionization on staffing levels and no decline in care quality, suggesting positive labor productivity effects. Some evidence suggests that nursing homes in less competitive local product markets and those with lower union density at the time of election experienced stronger union employment effects. Unionization appears to raise wages for a given worker while also shifting the composition of the workforce away from higher-earning workers. By combining credible identification of union effects, a comprehensive set of outcomes over time with measures of market-level characteristics, this study generates some o...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers onlyInformation about this author at RePEc

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