|How Much to Save? Decision Costs and Retirement Plan Participation|
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Deciding how much to save for retirement can be complicated. Drawing on a field experiment conducted with the Department of Defense, we study whether such complexity depresses participation in an employer-sponsored retirement saving plan. We find that simplifying one dimension of the enrollment decision, by highlighting a potential rate at which non-participants might contribute, increases participation in the plan. Similar communications that did not include a highlighted rate yield smaller effects. The results highlight how reducing complexity on the intensive margin of a decision (how much to contribute) can affect extensive margin behavior (whether to contribute at all) in a setting of policy interest.
|Health Insurance and Mortality: Experimental Evidence from Taxpayer Outreach|
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We evaluate a randomized pilot study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million taxpayers who paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Drawing on administrative data, we study the effect of the intervention on taxpayers’ subsequent health insurance enrollment and mortality. We find the intervention led to increased coverage in the two years following treatment and that this additional coverage reduced mortality among middle-aged adults over the same time period. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that health insurance reduces mortality.
|Revealed Preference Analysis with Framing Effects|
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In many settings, decision-makers' behavior is observed to vary based on seemingly arbitrary factors. Such framing effects cast doubt on the welfare conclusions drawn from revealed preference analysis. We relax the assumptions underlying that approach to accommodate settings in which framing effects are present. Plausible restrictions of varying strength permit either partial- or point-identification of preferences for the decision-makers who choose consistently across frames. Recovering population preferences requires understanding the empirical relationship between decision-makers’ preferences and their sensitivity to the frame. We develop tools for studying this relationship and illustrate them with data on automatic enrollment into pension plans.
Published: Jacob Goldin & Daniel Reck, 2020. "Revealed-Preference Analysis with Framing Effects," Journal of Political Economy, vol 128(7), pages 2759-2795.
|The Effects of Pre-Trial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges|
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Over 20 percent of prison and jail inmates in the United States are currently awaiting trial, but little is known about the impact of pre-trial detention on defendants. This paper uses the detention tendencies of quasi-randomly assigned bail judges to estimate the causal effects of pre-trial detention on subsequent defendant outcomes. Using data from administrative court and tax records, we find that being detained before trial significantly increases the probability of a conviction, primarily through an increase in guilty pleas. Pre-trial detention has no detectable effect on future crime, but decreases pre-trial crime and failures to appear in court. We also find suggestive evidence that pre-trial detention decreases formal sector employment and the receipt of employment- and tax-relate...
Published: Will Dobbie & Jacob Goldin & Crystal S. Yang, 2018. "The Effects of Pre-Trial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges," American Economic Review, vol 108(2), pages 201-240.