Financial Incentives Beat Social Norms

A Field Experiment on Retirement Information Search

A lack of pension knowledge undermines adequate savings decisions. To understand what motivates individuals to inform themselves about their pension situation, we conducted a field experiment
with 245,712 pension fund participants. We fi nd that a small fi nancial incentive is cost-effective and increases the rate by which individuals visit their personal pension website by 70%. Our experiment
directly compares the effect of fi nancial incentives to different social norms, which turn out to be ineffective in the pension domain. Financial incentives are effective regardless of gender, age and income, while nudges are ineffective for each subgroup.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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