Can Participating in a Survey Change Saving Behaviour?

With population ageing a major factor in Europe’s economies over the next few decades, it is important to understand what influences savings behaviour.  In a forthcoming article in the Economic Journal, UCD economist Liam Delaney and co-authors Thomas Crossley, Jochem de Bresser and Joachim Winter, find that participating in a detailed survey on financial needs in retirement tends to reduce their rate of saving.

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“We document an effect of survey participation on household saving. Identification comes from random assignment to modules within a population-representative internet panel. The saving measure is based on linked administrative wealth data. Households that responded to a detailed questionnaire on needs in retirement reduced their non-housing saving rate by 3.5 percentage points, on a base of 1.5%. The survey may have acted as a salience shock, possibly with respect to reduced housing costs in retirement. Our findings present an important challenge to survey designers. They also add to the evidence of limited attention in household financial decision making.”

You can read the journal article here and an ungated working paper version of the paper here.

At UCD, Liam Delaney teaches Behavioural Economics to undergraduates and MSc students and is programme director for our MSc in Behavioural Economics.

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