NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence From a Field Experiment

Jeffrey B. Liebman, Erzo F.P. Luttmer

NBER Working Paper No. 17287
Issued in August 2011
NBER Program(s):   AG   LS   PE

This paper presents the results of a field experiment in which a sample of older workers was randomized between a treatment group that was given information about key Social Security provisions and a control group that was not. The experiment was designed to examine whether it is possible to affect individual behavior using a relatively inexpensive informational intervention about the provisions of a public program and to explore the mechanisms underlying the behavior change. We find that our relatively mild intervention (sending an informational brochure and an invitation to a web-tutorial) increased labor force participation one year later by 4 percentage points relative to the control group mean of 74 percent and that this effect is driven by a 7.2 percentage point increase among female subjects. In addition to affecting actual labor supply behavior, the information intervention increased survey measures of the perceived returns to working longer, especially among female respondents.

download in pdf format
   (1023 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the December 2011 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2011 number 3 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (1023 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on December 23, 2011

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17287

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Brown, Kapteyn, and Mitchell w17018 Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior
Angrist, Pathak, and Walters w17332 Explaining Charter School Effectiveness
Bordo, Redish, and Rockoff w17312 Why didn’t Canada have a banking crisis in 2008 (or in 1930, or 1907, or ...)?
Liebman, Luttmer, and Seif w14540 Labor Supply Responses to Marginal Social Security Benefits: Evidence from Discontinuities
Congdon, Kling, and Mullainathan w15328 Behavioral Economics and Tax Policy
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us