NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Small Cues Change Savings Choices

James J. Choi, Emily Haisley, Jennifer Kurkoski, Cade Massey

NBER Working Paper No. 17843
Issued in February 2012, Revised in June 2012
NBER Program(s):Aging, Asset Pricing, Public Economics

In randomized field experiments, we embedded one- to two-sentence anchoring, goal-setting, or savings threshold cues in emails to employees about their 401(k) savings plan. We find that anchors increase or decrease 401(k) contribution rates by up to 1.9% of income. A high savings goal example raises contribution rates by up to 2.2% of income. Highlighting a higher savings threshold in the match incentive structure raises contributions by up to 1.5% of income relative to highlighting the lower threshold. Highlighting the maximum possible contribution rate raises contribution rates by up to 2.9% of income among low savers.

download in pdf format
   (230 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17843

Published: Choi, James J. & Haisley, Emily & Kurkoski, Jennifer & Massey, Cade, 2017. "Small cues change savings choices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 378-395. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Goda, Flaherty Manchester, and Sojourner w17927 What Will My Account Really Be Worth? An Experiment on Exponential Growth Bias and Retirement Saving
Choi, Laibson, Madrian, and Metrick For Better or for Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior
Beshears, Choi, Laibson, and Madrian The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States
Brown, Kapteyn, and Mitchell w17018 Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior
Karlan, McConnell, Mullainathan, and Zinman w16205 Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us