Small Cues Change Savings Choices

48 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2012

See all articles by James J. Choi

James J. Choi

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Emily Haisley

Independent

Jennifer Kurkoski

Independent

Cade Massey

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Choi, James J. and Haisley, Emily and Kurkoski, Jennifer and Massey, Cade, Small Cues Change Savings Choices (February 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w17843. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2007837

James J. Choi (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Emily Haisley

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Jennifer Kurkoski

Independent

No Address Available

Cade Massey

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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