Institutional Affiliation: Swarthmore College
|Is Attention Produced Rationally?|
with Judd B. Kessler, Ellen B. Magenheim, Dmitry Taubinsky, Eric Zwick: w27443
A large and growing literature shows that attention-increasing interventions, such as reminders and planning prompts, can promote important behaviors. This paper develops a method to investigate whether people value attention-increasing tools rationally. We characterize how the demand for attention improvements must vary with the pecuniary incentive to be attentive and develop quantitative tests of rational inattention that we deploy in two experiments. The first is an experiment with an online education platform run in the field (n=1,373), in which we randomize incentives to complete course modules and incentives to make plans to complete the modules. The second is an online survey-completion experiment (n=944), in which we randomize incentives to complete a survey three weeks later and t...
|Local Food Prices, SNAP Purchasing Power, and Child Health|
with Garret S. Christensen, Hilary W. Hoynes: w24762
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is one of the most important elements of the social safety net. Unlike most other safety net programs, SNAP varies little across states and over time, which creates challenges for quasi-experimental evaluation. Notably, SNAP benefits are fixed across 48 states; but local food prices vary, leading to geographic variation in the real value – or purchasing power – of SNAP benefits. In this study, we provide the first estimates that leverage variation in SNAP purchasing power across markets to examine effects of SNAP on child health. We link panel data on regional food prices to National Health Interview Survey data and use a fixed effects framework to estimate the relationship between local purchasing power of SNAP and...
Published: Erin T. Bronchetti & Garret Christensen & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2019. "Local Food Prices, SNAP Purchasing Power, and Child Health," Journal of Health Economics, . citation courtesy of
|When a Nudge Isn't Enough: Defaults and Saving Among Low-Income Tax Filers|
with Thomas S. Dee, David B. Huffman, Ellen Magenheim: w16887
Recent evidence suggests that the default options implicit in economic choices (e.g., 401(k) savings by white-collar workers) have extraordinarily large effects on decision-making. This study presents a field experiment that evaluates the effect of defaults on savings among a highly policy-relevant population: low-income tax filers. In the control condition, tax filers could choose (i.e., opt in) to receive some of their federal tax refund in the form of U.S. Savings Bonds. In the treatment condition, a fraction of the tax refund was automatically directed to U.S. Savings Bonds unless tax filers actively chose another allocation. We find that the opt-out default had no impact on savings behavior. Furthermore, our treatment estimate is sufficiently precise to reject effects as small as one-...