Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



This chapter summarizes key findings from experimental or quasi-experimental studies on the determinants of savings through employer-sponsored retirement benefits plans. Research shows that default rules and the ability to commit now for the future can have a dramatic impact on enrollment rates. Analysis also shows that enrollment decisions can be influenced by peer decisions, as well as information provided by the employer. We also identify gaps in existing knowledge and propose new randomized experiments which could be conducted in the workplace that would fill important gaps in our understanding of the determinants of retirement savings.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2004 publication: Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons from Behavioral Finance.

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

©2003 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All Rights Reserved


The authors thank Abhijit Banerjee, David Card, David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian, and Olivia Mitchell for very helpful comments and discussions. They gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation (SES-0078535).

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 04 September 2019