Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving

43 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2010 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010

See all articles by Dean S. Karlan

Dean S. Karlan

Yale University; Innovations for Poverty Action; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Margaret McConnell

Harvard University

Sendhil Mullainathan

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College; Innovations for Poverty Action; Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 5 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2010

Abstract

We develop and test a simple model of limited attention in intertemporal choice. The model posits that individuals fully attend to consumption in all periods but fail to attend to some future lumpy expenditure opportunities. This asymmetry generates some predictions that overlap with other models of present-bias. Our model also generates the unique predictions that reminders will increase saving, and that a reminder that makes a specific expenditure more salient will be especially effective. We find support for these predictions in three field experiments that randomly assign reminders to new savings account holders.

Suggested Citation

Karlan, Dean S. and McConnell, Margaret and Mullainathan, Sendhil and Zinman, Jonathan, Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving (April 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1596281 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1596281

Dean S. Karlan (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
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Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Margaret McConnell

Harvard University ( email )

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Sendhil Mullainathan

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
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HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.dartmouth.edu/jzinman/

Innovations for Poverty Action

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Jameel Poverty Action Lab

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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