Less is not more: 401(k) plan information and retirement planning choices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of a choice experiment that is designed to examine whether changing how plan information is presented affects planned retirement-savings behavior. The main hypothesis is that providing plan information in a more concise format with helpful recommendations, rather than providing lengthy and detailed information, will alter retirement-planning choices. The specific choices examined include: whether to enroll, how much to contribute, and how to structure (broadly) the asset allocation. The choice experiment is conducted on three different samples: (i) a Qualtrics panel of new employees, (ii) a Qualtrics panel of job seekers, and (iii) a sample of business-school students. Our results suggest that, controlling for demographic and other factors, our main hypothesis was not supported by the data in any of the samples. Thus, the data cast some doubt on the notion that simplifying and condensing the retirement-plan information presented to employees will result in vastly different retirement-planning choices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pension Economics and Finance
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • 401(k)
  • Retirement planning
  • choice architecture
  • information complexity
  • nudge


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