Found 19 article(s) for author 'David Laibson'

The effect of automatic enrolment on debt

The effect of automatic enrolment on debt. John Beshears, David Laibson, September 17, 2019, Paper, “Automatic enrolment in defined contribution pension plans might be the most common policy application of behavioural economics. But does automatic enrolment increase pension savings at the expense of increased household debt? This column examines a natural experiment in which the US Army began automatically enrolling its civilian employees in its retirement savings plan. It finds strong evidence against the hypothesis that automatic enrolment increases financial distress and debt excluding auto loans and first mortgages.Link

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Intertemporal Choice

Intertemporal Choice. David Laibson, December 2018, Paper, “Intertemporal tradeoffs play a key role in many personal decisions and policy questions. We describe models of intertemporal choice, identify empirical regularities in choice, and pose new questions for research. The focus for intertemporal choice research is no longer whether the exponential discounted utility model is empirically accurate, but, instead, what models best explain the robust behavioral deviations we observe. We introduce the term “present-focused preferences” to describe the large class of models that prioritize present flows of experienced utility. Present-focused preferences need not coincide with a preference for commitment or dynamically inconsistent preferences. Present-bias is a special case of present-focused preferences.Link

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Potential vs. realized savings under automatic enrollment

Potential vs. realized savings under automatic enrollment. John Beshears, David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian, July 2018, Paper, “Previous research has documented the powerful impact that automatic enrollment has on retirement savings outcomes. When a savings plan’s default—the option that is implemented on behalf of any employees that do not actively elect an alternative option—is changed from not participating in the plan to contributing a positive fraction of pay to the plan, the proportion of employees contributing to the plan increases dramatically, and many employees who would otherwise have not participated begin to accumulate plan balances (Madrian and Shea, 2001; Choi, et al., 2002 and 2004; Beshears, et al., 2008).Link

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Behavioral Household Finance

Behavioral Household Finance, John Beshears, David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian, July 2018, Paper, “This chapter provides an overview of household finance. The first part summarizes key facts regarding household financial behavior, emphasizing empirical regularities that are inconsistent with the standard classical economic model and discussing extensions of the classical model and explanations grounded in behavioral economics that can account for the observed patterns. This part covers five topics: consumption and savings, borrowing, payments, asset allocation, and insurance. The second part addresses interventions that firms, governments, and other parties deploy to shape household financial outcomes: education and information, peer effects and social influence, product design, advice and disclosure, choice architecture, and interventions that directly target prices or quantities.Link

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Borrowing to Save? The Impact of Automatic Enrollment on Debt

Borrowing to Save? The Impact of Automatic Enrollment on Debt. John Beshears, David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian, December 6, 2017, Paper, “How much of the retirement savings induced by automatic enrollment is offset by increased borrowing outside the retirement savings plan? We study a natural experiment created when the U.S. Army began automatically enrolling its newly hired civilian employees into the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) at a default contribution rate of 3% of income. Four years after hire, automatic enrollment causes no significant change in debt excluding auto loans and first mortgages (point estimate = 0.9% of income, 95% confidence interval = [-0.9%, 2.7%]). Automatic enrollment does significantly increase auto loan balances by 2.0% of income and first mortgage balances by 7.4% of income.Link

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Building Emergency Savings Through Employer-Sponsored Rainy Day Savings Accounts

Building Emergency Savings Through Employer-Sponsored Rainy Day Savings Accounts. John Beshears, David Laibson, October 2017, Paper, “Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, carry revolving credit balances, and have little liquidity to absorb financial shocks (Angeletos et al. 2001; Kaplan and Violante 2014). One consequence of this financial vulnerability is that many individuals use a portion of their retirement savings during their working years. For every $1 that flows into 401(k)s and similar accounts, between 30¢ and 40¢ leaks out before retirement (Argento, Bryant, and Sabelhaus 2015). We explore the practical considerations and challenges of helping households accumulate liquid savings that can be deployed when urgent pre-retirement needs arise. We believe that this can be achieved cost effectively by automatically enrolling workers into an employer-sponsored payroll deduction “rainy day” or “emergency” savings account, and present three specific implementation options.Link

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Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk Taking?

Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk Taking? David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian, August 11, 2016, Paper, “Many experiments have found that participants take more investment risk if they see returns less frequently, see portfolio-level returns (rather than each individual asset’s returns), or see long-horizon (rather than one-year) historical return distributions. In contrast, we find that such information aggregation treatments do not affect total equity investment when we make the investment environment more realistic than in prior experiments. Previously documented aggregation effects are not robust to changes in the risky asset’s return distribution or the introduction of a multi-day delay between portfolio choice and return realization.Link

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Why Harvard’s Laibson and MIT’s Schoar back Labor Department’s ‘fiduciary rule’ for retirement savings

Why Harvard’s Laibson and MIT’s Schoar back Labor Department’s ‘fiduciary rule’ for retirement savings. David Laibson, September 30, 2015, Video. “The Obama administration has stirred controversy – and stiff industry criticism – for a pending Labor Department rule that would toughen rules governing retirement-finance advisers, requiring nearly all of them to put clients’ best interest first (“the fiduciary standard.”) Currently, stock brokers, among others, are required only to be sure recommended investments are ‘suitable’ for their clients.” SCROLL DOWN PAGE FOR VIDEO.  Link

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Self Control and Commitment: Can Decreasing the Liquidity of a Savings Account Increase Deposits?

Self Control and Commitment: Can Decreasing the Liquidity of a Savings Account Increase Deposits? John Beshears, David Laibson, and Brigitte Madrian, August 2015, Paper. “If individuals have self-control problems, they may take up commitment contracts that restrict their spending. We experimentally investigate how contract design affects the demand for commitment contracts. Each participant divides money between a liquid account, which permits unrestricted withdrawals, and a commitment account with withdrawal restrictions that are randomized across participants. When the two accounts pay the same interest rate...” Link

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Principles of (Behavioral) Economics

Principles of (Behavioral) Economics. David Laibson, 2015, Paper. “Behavioral economics has become an important and integrated component of modern economics. Behavioral economists embrace the core principles of economics—optimization and equilibrium—and seek to develop and extend those ideas to make them more empirically accurate. Behavioral models assume that economic actors try to pick the best feasible option and those actors sometimes make mistakes. Behavioral ideas should be incorporated throughout the first-year undergraduate course. Instructors should also considering allocating a lecture (or more)…” Link

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