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
NBER Program(s):   AG   AP   PE

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.

This paper is available as PDF (230 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on June 29, 2012

Acknowledgments and Disclosures

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

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
Caplin and Martin w17988 Defaults and Attention: The Drop Out Effect
Gabaix w17783 Boundedly Rational Dynamic Programming: Some Preliminary Results
Criscuolo, Martin, Overman, and Van Reenen w17842 The Causal Effects of an Industrial Policy
Poterba, Venti, and Wise w17824 Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and AHEAD Cohorts
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us