A Fistful of Dollars - Financial Incentives Improve Retirement Information Search

Rob Bauer, Inka Eberhardt, Paul Smeets

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


To understand what motivates individuals to become informed about their pension situation, we conducted two field experiments with 245,712 and 257,433 pension fund participants, respectively. We find that lottery-type financial incentives to visit an online personal pension planner are cost effective and increase the rate at which individuals check their pension information. This uptake of pension information led to improved pension knowledge and increased savings behavior three weeks after our intervention. Offering a few large prizes rather than many small prizes is most effective, and financial incentives work when used repeatedly.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages127
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021

JEL classifications

  • c93 - Field Experiments
  • d83 - "Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief"


  • Retirement Information Search
  • Field Experiment
  • Financial Incentives
  • Social Norms

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