Retirement Contribution Rate Nudges and Plan Participation: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Jacob Goldin, Tatiana Homonoff, and Will Tucker
Forthcoming in American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings.

Simple interventions like changing the default or sending a short message can induce individuals to save more for retirement. However, messages that emphasize high savings rates may increase the amount that savings plan participants save while reducing the total number of plan participants. We study this possibility in the context of a field experiment designed to increase retirement savings by U.S. military service-members. We find that service-members who received a message emphasizing a low contribution rate were more likely to participate in a savings plan than were service-members whose message emphasized a high contribution rate, or no rate at all.

Wagner Faculty