Saving Regret: Self-assessed Life-cycle Saving Behavior in the U.S. and Singapore

Some studies have raised concerns that many households reach retirement with limited financial resources. The behavioral economics literature posits that procrastination may be an important explanation. We fielded a survey in the RAND American Life Panel, asking respondents ages 60…

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Subjective Expectations, Social Security Benefits, and Saving for Retirement

Americans reach retirement with varying degrees of preparation, with many facing shortfalls in savings. We propose to use unique survey data collected among respondents to the Understanding America Study to measure the relative roles of subjective beliefs about retirement income — particularly…

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Using Consequence Messaging to Improve Understanding of Social Security

In this paper, we developed and evaluated “consequence messaging,” a behaviorally motivated communication strategy in which we used vignettes — video and written stories about hypothetical people — to explain the consequences of decisions. We studied two related areas where…

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Quicksand or Bedrock for Behavioral Economics? Assessing Foundational Empirical Questions

Behavioral economics lacks empirical evidence on some foundational questions. We adapt standard elicitation methods to measure multiple behavioral factors per person in a representative U.S. sample, along with financial condition, cognitive skills, financial literacy, classical preferences, and demographics. Individually, behavioral…

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Alternative Measures of Noncognitive Skills and Their Effect on Retirement Preparation and Financial Capability

Social science, more than ever, is drawing upon the insights of personality psychology. Though researchers now know that noncognitive skills and personality traits, such as conscientiousness, grit, self-control, or a growth mindset could be important for life outcomes, they struggle…

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