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Savings Incentives for Low- and Moderate-Income Families in the United States: Why is the Saver's Credit Not More Effective?

Esther Duflo, William Gale, Jeffrey Liebman, Peter Orszag and Emmanuel Saez
Journal of the European Economic Association
Vol. 5, No. 2/3, Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Congress of the European Economic Association (Apr. - May, 2007), pp. 647-661
Published by: Wiley on behalf of European Economic Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40005067
Page Count: 15
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Savings Incentives for Low- and Moderate-Income Families in the United States: Why is the Saver's Credit Not More Effective?
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Abstract

This paper uses data from the largest tax preparer in the United States to estimate the impact of the "saver's credit," a US federal program providing financial incentives to encourage retirement savings, on the decision to contribute to an IRA. It finds significant, but very modest, effects. This is contrasted with results from a field experiment showing much larger impacts of clearly presented matching incentives. Various explanations are discussed for why the saver's credit is not more effective.

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