NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Joshua Blumenstock

School of Information
102 South Hall
University of California, Berkeley

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2017Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan
with Michael Callen, Tarek Ghani: w23590
We report on an experiment examining why default options impact behavior. By randomly assigning employees to different varieties of a salary-linked savings account, we find that default enrollment increases participation by 40 percentage points—an effect equivalent to providing a 50% matching incentive. We then use a series of experimental interventions to differentiate between explanations for the default effect, which we conclude is driven largely by present-biased preferences and the cognitive cost of thinking through different savings scenarios. Default assignment also changes employees' attitudes toward saving, and makes them more likely to actively decide to save after the study concludes.
 
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