Goal Setting and Saving in the FinTech Era

71 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020 Last revised: 21 Jun 2022

See all articles by Antonio Gargano

Antonio Gargano

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

Alberto G. Rossi

Georgetown University

Date Written: April 9, 2020


We study the effectiveness of saving goals in increasing individuals’ savings using data from a Fin-
Tech App. We establish that setting goals increases individuals’ savings rate and show that the effect is causal using a difference-in-differences identification strategy that exploits the random assignment of users into a group of beta testers who can set goals and a group of users who cannot. The increased savings within the App do not come at the expense of reduced savings outside the App. Moreover, goal setting also helps the individuals the literature has identified to have the lowest propensity to save. We explore the economic channels of our results by matching App user survey responses to their behavior and highlight the relative merits of monitoring and concreteness channels in explaining our findings.

Keywords: Goal Setting, Financial Technology, Saving Behavior

JEL Classification: D14, G41, G51

Suggested Citation

Gargano, Antonio and Rossi, Alberto G., Goal Setting and Saving in the FinTech Era (April 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3579275 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3579275

Antonio Gargano (Contact Author)

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States

Alberto G. Rossi

Georgetown University ( email )

McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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