NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision Making

Sewin Chan, Ann Huff Stevens

NBER Working Paper No. 10185
Issued in December 2003
NBER Program(s):   LS   AG

This paper provides an answer to an important empirical puzzle in the retirement literature: while most people know little about their own pension plans, retirement behavior is strongly affected by pension incentives. We combine administrative and self-reported pension data to measure the retirement response to actual and perceived financial incentives. We find that well-informed individuals are five times more responsive to pension incentives than the average individual when knowledge is ignored. We further find that the ill-informed individuals do respond to their own misperception of the incentives, rather than being unresponsive to any incentives.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10185

Published: Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens, 2008. "What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 253-266, 04.

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