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A Fistful of Dollars: Financial Incentives, Peer Information, and Retirement Savings

Rob Bauer, Inka Eberhardt, and Paul Smeets

Abstract: To understand what motivates individuals to look at their pension situation and take adequate savings decisions, we conduct two field experiments with 226,946 and 257,433 pension fund participants. We find peer-information statements do not increase the rate at which individuals check their pension information, but lottery-type financial incentives do. Offering a few large prizes rather than many small prizes is most effective. However, the uptake of pension information does not lead to improved pension knowledge nor to increased self-reported savings three weeks after our intervention.

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